LIVE REVIEW: Inhaler at O2 Forum Kentish Town – 06.10.21

Inhaler’s show at London’s iconic O2 Forum Kentish Town last night was one of many sold out dates on their much-anticipated 2021 UK tour. Support came from Dylan Fraser and Wet Leg

Strutting onto stage in their truly rock and roll attire, the Dublin lads kick off their set with the album’s aptly named title track ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’. The song has been with the band since the beginning and has consistently been a tried-and-tested fan favourite – with mosh pits opening left right and centre, the night has begun. Since its official release less than 3 months ago, the track has racked up over 6.5 million Spotify streams alone. The debut album itself has had such an impact this year – hitting the UK and Ireland charts at number 1 – that when a couple of thousand people are singing it in unison, anyone is bound to feel like they’re a part of something.

Photo Credit: Briony Graham-Rudd

The first 3 songs are full of energy – ‘We Have To Move On’ has a groove to it that takes the band’s usual indie rock sound back to the 70s. At points, Elijah Hewson – a natural born rock star and frontman – jumps down onto the barrier to get closer to the audience, with fans huddling closer to get a glimpse. Most of the turnout is composed of younger fans, especially in the lower half of the venue. There is not a moment where the audience lack energy and the band reciprocate this just as much. It isn’t long before people start popping up on shoulders above the crowd.  

Sonically, the band has their set mastered. A large amount of their setlist has remained unchanged from previous tours, besides the addition of a few new tracks from the album such as ‘Slide Out The Window’ and ‘Who’s Your Money On?’. A handful of festivals and album release shows over the summer gave the quartet a chance to get back into the swing of things and practise, with Louis Lambert (who joins the band on keys for their live shows). Inhaler seem to focus on playing their music more than anything – other than Hewson, they seem generally reserved as the rest of the band keep to themselves between songs.

Photo Credit: Briony Graham-Rudd

‘In My Sleep’ is performed incredibly well with guitarist Joshua Jenkinson executing a faultless guitar solo which doesn’t go unnoticed by the concertgoers, resulting in a long and well-deserved applause. Another highlight is ‘Cheer Up Baby’, a pop song with enough serotonin to get anyone dancing if they weren’t already. 

‘Totally’, a single Inhaler put out prior to the debut album release opens with a very much ‘…Baby one more time’ inspired chord progression, so much so that Hewson shouts out ‘We’d like to dedicate this one to Britney’. The brightly coloured strobe lights, different for each song, dance off the stage and into the crowd while the band carry on with the track. Closing with ‘My Honest Face’ leaves the audience on a high, and showcases Inhaler’s remarkable performance.

Photo Credit: Briony Graham-Rudd

With Ireland reclaiming its place on the music map in recent years with bands like Fontaines D.C and The Murder Capital, Inhaler have come along at the perfect time and have the potential to reach enormous success. From playing 200 people capacity venues like The Camden Assembly in 2019 to headlining a show with more than 2,000 fans watching, it’s clear that over the past couple years the band have had the chance to prove themselves as excellent musicians while building up a loyal fanbase along the way. This made itself obvious with a fan throwing an Irish flag to the band before they left the stage, with ‘Inhaler World Domination’ printed across it, a message that encapsulated the mood for the evening.

It most certainly won’t be long until the band are selling out arenas with multiple albums under their belt.

★ ★ ★ ★

GALLERY: (Photos by Briony Graham-Rudd / @brionygrahamrudd)

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