Blur tease "honest" performance ahead of reunion gigs: "We sound really good"

20 May 2023, 16:00 | Updated: 24 May 2023, 01:28

Blur on what to expect from their reunion gigs

By Jenny Mensah

The Britpop band have discussed their "back to basics" rehearsals and their aches and pains ahead of their Wembley shows.

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Blur have said they are sounding "really good" ahead of their reunion gigs and have teased what to expect from their Wembley shows.

Speaking to Radio X's Dan O'Connell this week, the band revealed they're enjoying playing their new material since finishing recording their new album just two weeks ago and suggested there might be a more a more no-frills approach to their performance style.

“We sound good. We sound really good," he teased. "It’s back to basics. We sound how we should sound without any sort of confectionery around the sides. It’s honest.”

Listen back to Blur's interview on Dan O'Connell's Evening Show

Blur in 2023
Blur say rehearsals are going well ahead of their reunion gigs. Picture: Bastienne Lewis/Press

READ MORE: Blur announce new album The Ballad of Darren and new single The Narcissist

And when it comes to whether time has changed the way they approach their performance or their setlist, it seems experience as well as the aches and pains do have some influence.

Graham Coxon revealed that as he’s aged, he’s favoured some of the more melancholic songs in the setlist, citing Badhead from Parklife as one he’s become more fond of giving the live treatment.

“I like playing those older ones more respectfully as possible in a way, because a lot of our live shows were more exuberant than they were on record," the guitarist explained.

He added: “You’ve got to remember when you’re playing a song that you played in your 20s now that you’re approaching your mid 50s, you don’t quite act in the same way you did then... though I’ll probably attempt it.”

“I mean, it’s hard. It’s hard to sing those songs,” Albarn interjected. “I certainly can’t jump up and down in the way I used to, ‘cause my knees are knackered, but it doesn’t mean I can't move my top half frantically.”

QUIZ: Can you name these Blur songs from one line?

Blur on their new single The Narcissist

Talking about the fact both their Wembley gigs are almost sold out, Coxon reflected: “It’s amazing we have that affection from that amount of people still... and I know it seems like, ‘Oh the 90s is back and a lot of young people are going back and listening to Blur and thinking, ‘Flipping heck, this band Blur,' like we did about bands from the ‘60s and the ‘80s. So it’s pretty amazing.

"I’m pretty touched by the fact that all those people are well into coming to see us play.”

On the band's decision to return with new material, Albarn referenced the band's forthcoming shows, noting: "What’s the point of doing all of this unless there’s something that represents in some way how we all feel now?”

"The fact that we’ve made a record is a surprise to me," joked Alex James. "But looking back it’s what we actually do.”

Blur's ninth studio album The Ballad of Darren, is set for release on 21st July 2023.

From the record, which follows 2015's The Magic Whip, comes new single The Narcissist, which you can listen to here:

Blur - The Narcissist (Official Visualiser)

Speaking of their lead track, Albarn told Radio X: “I think the whole nature of being in a band… especially talking about yourself, having photographs taken... that’s all about yourself.

“Obviously there are deep practitioners of narcissism in the entertainment world, but it also applies to people like Putin, you know? It’s one of those kind of troubling aspects of modern life. There’s definitely mediations on modernity in the record for sure.”

Pre-order The Ballad of Darren here.

See the tracklisting for Blur's The Ballad of Darren:

1. The Ballad

2. St Charles Square

3. Barbaric

4. Russian Strings

5. The Everglades (For Leonard)

6. The Narcissist

7. Goodbye Albert

8. Far Away Island

9. Avalon

10. The Height

READ MORE: Blur's 10 best B-Sides