Live Review: Inhaler @ Rock City

Gracing the stage in front of an electrifying crowd, rising band Inhaler took on Rock City with an iconic performance. Benedict Watson reviews.

Seeing Inhaler live on a sunny afternoon at Boardmasters Festival this summer was fantastic, but their half-hour set left me wanting more, so I knew that on a dark and cold October night, I had to see them again for a headline gig at Rock City. With Scottish indie-pop starlet Dylan Fraser and the massively hyped Wet Leg providing support, it was a salivating line-up.

Fraser raised the curtain with an energetic performance that warmed the crowd up for the larger acts to come. Single Nightmare – which features on Spotify’s popular ‘Indie Roadtrip’ playlist – was a particular highlight. Having started out as an artist during lockdown, Fraser is still very new to live performance. His stage presence didn’t let this on, although an ironically long monologue about how he doesn’t know what to say between songs did perhaps show his inexperience. Nevertheless, he is definitely yet another Scottish artist to keep an eye on for the future.

''Being shown what is to come from them did feel like a very exclusive treat''

Wet Leg are perhaps one of the most exciting bands in the indie scene right now. With only one released song at the time, they received raucous reviews throughout festival season, being dubbed the ‘breakthrough act’ of Latitude Festival after people had to be turned away from the tent they were performing in. A week before I saw them, they released their second single Wet Dream, continuing the sexualized themes of debut single Chaise Longue. The lack of released songs did restrict the crowd from getting involved, however being shown what is to come from them did feel like a very exclusive treat. As the band announced that they had one song left, there was an audible noise of anticipation from the crowd, as everyone knew that they were about to hear Chaise Longue. The humorous lyrics of the song were made even more funny live, with lead singer Rhian Teasdale laughing through the lyrics. It was great to see a band enjoy singing their hit song so much.

At 9:15pm, it was finally time for Inhaler to take to the stage. They hit the ground running with crowd-pleasing breakthrough single It Won’t Always Be Like This. I took a moment to appreciate the fact that live gigs were back – I remember listening to that song on the first morning of lockdown. Their high energy start continued with We Have To Move On (I think everyone in the crowd was already pretty sweaty by the end of this one!) Things calmed down slightly with Falling In and Slide Out The Window, while Ice Cream Sundae – a song which I had previously considered as a niche song from Inhaler’s early days – got a raucous reception from the packed Rock City crowd.

There was time for a more sombre 10 minutes as Inhaler played heartbreak songs My King Will Be Kind and Totally back-to-back, before building up to the gig’s climax with heavier songs In My Sleep and Cheer Up Baby. Predictably, Inhaler finished with their biggest song – My Honest Face. The mosh pits grew as the song built up to the big finish - lead singer Elijah Hewson shouting ‘'I wanna be on TV’' was the signal for the pits to swirl.

Inhaler were slick, a band that you could definitely imagine playing an arena gig in a few years’ time. It felt very satisfying to hear pretty much every Inhaler song that exists – there was none of the Boardmasters disappointment when they left out Who’s Your Money On and personal favourite My King Will Be Kind. I can’t wait to hear what Inhaler produce next, and I’m sure I’d be up for seeing them again on their next tour.

Written by: Benedict Watson

Edited by: Amrit Virdi

Featured image and in-article images courtesy of Inhaler via Facebook.