LIVE: Inhaler @ Academy 2, Birmingham 13.02.20

Review and images by Jonathan Taylor.

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For those of you who are in the dark about this promising musical outfit, Inhaler are an Irish pop rock band originating from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists vocalist/guitarist Elijah Hewson, who is the son of U2 iconic frontman Bono, (a subject which no doubt has already become tiresome for Elijah when brought up for discussion in every interview), bassist Robert Keating, guitarist Josh Jenkinson and drummer Ryan McMahon.

2019 saw the band support the likes of The Courteeners and Blossoms on tour and they achieved Record of the Week on Radio X with single ‘Ice Cream Sundae’ and Tune of the Week on Radio 1 with arguably their biggest track to date ‘My Honest Face’.

Momentum looks set to continue for Inhaler in 2020 as the band were ranked at number 5 in BBC’s Sound of 2020. Before a busy summer on the festival circuit and supporting Kasabian at their huge sold out show at Victoria Park, fresh back from Tokyo, Inhaler embark on a 16 date UK and European tour.

Night two of the run of dates is at the O2 Academy 2 in Birmingham and the venue is packed predominately with excitable fresh faced gig goers. As the lights dim, there is an inevitable wave of screams and cheers from the young crowd as the lads from Dublin take to the stage.

The set opens with guitar driven ‘When I’m With You’ which is followed by an already established fan favourite ‘It Won’t Always Be like This’ which has the crowd singing every word back to the stage. From the off, Elijah works the stage with wonderful charismatic energy and confidence and ticks every box fulfilling the criteria of what is required to be an established guitar band front man. 

The tempo drops and the set continues with synth heavy ‘A Night on the Floor’ which builds into an impressive soundscape of fuzzy guitars. Radio friendly and sing along favourite ‘Ice Cream Sundae’ is followed by ‘Falling In’ and ‘My King Will Be Kind’ which will be heard for the first time by the majority of the crowd given that Inhaler are still a band in their infancy. Elijah continues to give a wonderfully assured vocal performance and it can’t go unmentioned that has voice is uncannily reminiscent to that of his father on early U2 albums such as ‘Boy’ and ‘October’.  Latest release ‘We Have to Move On’ sounds incredible live and demonstrates a real maturity and the musical capabilities Inhaler has to offer as does the melodic offering ‘Cheer Up Baby’.

The penultimate track of the night is ‘There’s No Other Place’ which is a wonderful experimental fusion of beats, swirling guitar sounds and echoing vocal. The evening is brought to a close with big hitting anthemic fan favourite ‘My Honest face’ and has the joyous, youthful crowd bouncing with arms aloft shouting the lyrics back to the Irish quartet. The set is short and snappy and leaves the fans hankering for more.

When Elijah, Robert, Josh and Ryan formed Inhaler it was their bond over their love of similar music that brought them together. These influences can be heard throughout the 10 song set, but these influences have been drawn upon and not mimicked. Without question, Inhaler have their own unique sound and bring something fresh and unpredictable to the table. One of the great things about exploring a new band establishing themselves is the joy of the unknown and the discovery of new music. Inhaler are certainly a band worthy of exploration. They have already established solid foundations to build on and certainly have the songs and the musical capabilities to back up their intentions. With a debut album for fans to look forward to, it is only a matter of time before Inhaler are inevitably catapulted onto greater plains of popularity and that’s what makes seeing them in a venue such as tonight that little bit more special.