Live Review: Blithe @ the Edge of the Wedge, Portsmouth – 10/08/19

Blithe are a band that I could never quite get. After seeing them live back in March as part of a “battle of the bands” style competition, I couldn’t fathom how they got through to the next round based upon their performance. I couldn’t even work out how they’d managed to sell out their first 100 capacity Edge of the Wedge gig towards the end of 2018 either. After spending most of their set (back in March) wondering how much longer I’d have to endure them, I’d brandished them as Portsmouth’s most average band and even as boring as watching paint dry.

Fast forward a few months and the band released their latest single ‘It’s Not Too Late’. I was equally unimpressed with stating it was as bland as carpet although it had its catchy parts! Blithe then played what was said to be a triumphant set at Portsmouth’s Golden Touch Festival and then went on (to my surprise) to sell out the Edge of the Wedge for a second time. It was by this point I realised I should probably give them a second chance live.

Unfortunately Manchester’s Callow Youth were forced to pull out of the evening due to a family emergency… Luckily local acoustic-rock act James Laurence was there to stand in with just two hours to spare! James played a set filled with lo-fi but powerful tracks. South coast based Paraffin followed with lad-rock filled tunes, big choruses and hefty riffs. Nothing overly special and quite done before but Paraffin were still entertaining nonetheless.

By the time Blithe hit the stage, one by one, it was already a gig that was set to be one of the sweatiest gigs I’d been to in the venue. What was immediately noticeable was that there was an air of professionalism about them this time and the bands set was more polished from the word go. Blithe’s latest single ‘It’s Not Too Late’ still seemed a little lethargic but it definitely had more of an impact live in the right places. Apparently there was meant to be four new tracks in Blithe’s set that were of a different style… This wasn’t immediately obvious, but thinking back on it, maybe that was exactly what made their set more bearable and actually less tedious than the last time.

The band then announced that they only had two more tracks left. This actually came as a surprise because I hadn’t even looked for the time once and actually felt like they could’ve played for longer if they had the tracks. The band finished their set with ‘Missiles’, a track with a riff so strong I’m sure it would leave people chanting it for hours after the gig. It’s just a shame it’s pretty much the same riff from The Slow Readers Club – On The TV… The band’s set was nothing more than ordinary but at least they gave it more and it was energy packed in comparison to last time.

Blithe have promoted themselves from the most average band in Portsmouth to a band that actually has some potential. Give it a few more months and maybe, just maybe they’ll triumph and sell out their biggest date yet at the Wedgewood Rooms (date to be confirmed?). There’s still hope yet.

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