Blue October and Broken Witt Rebels @ O2 Ritz
When the news broke that the Broken Witt Rebels are supporting Blue October on this tour it came as something of a surprise, the two bands being very different. However, Birmingham’s Rebels modified their regular set, not just to shorten it to 30 minutes but also to make it more subdued in order to appeal to Blue October fans, and appeal it did as a fair size crowd lap up the songs they play.
Fresh from a European adventure, amusingly documented with videos posted to Facebook, the band were giving it their all with both Shake Me Down and Snake Eyes going down well. But just as they are in their stride it comes to an end as their time is up but finishing with Guns is a masterstroke. Standing by the merch desk at the interval it was obvious it was a job well done as they have won over new fans with several saying “I’ve never heard of you guys before”, well they have now!
To say that Blue October have a cult following would be an understatement, many of their fans are obsessive about the band, and for good reason.
There is a moody intro before the band launch into a quartet of songs that define this emotionally charged set: Say It, The Chills, Should Be Loved and I Want It. But Blue October gigs are more than just the songs – they are powerful messages of hope in a sea of uncertainty. Of how to overcome addictions and mental health difficulties as he threw away the burden of these struggles whilst on a cruise is described in Into The Ocean.
The connection between singer/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld and the audience was almost spiritual, he was able to hold them in the palm of his hand. Most of the band were willing to step back and allow the limelight to shine upon the front man, but special mention must be made of multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye whose impressive violin skills cut through the band’s sound like a knife.
It may have been the first time I have seen them live but it certainly won’t be the last as the sense of euphoria and uplifting was palpable.