It was almost a year to the day that Inhaler had been rocking Vancouver at the historic Commodore Ballroom. In that time the band has toured relentlessly all the while putting out a new album. This stalwart work ethic exudes throughout their show, and supporting the new album “Cuts and Bruises,” demonstrates their willingness to keep progressing as a band.
Right from the get-go, Inhaler brought their high-energy style to the forefront with their opening song “These Are the Days.” Throughout these opening songs, they showed that they could bring the crowd wherever they needed them to be. Few bands are able to make Vancouverites really move, but these Dubliners always get the crowd truly moving. There’s a moment in some Commodore shows where the floor feels less like a solid ballroom and more like a gymnastic trampoline: Inhaler always brings that trampoline energy.
This seems to be no mere accident. It is still surprising to hear how cohesive they are despite how young they are. They form a true unit. This oneness has only improved as they get more touring under their belt. Where 2022 felt like they had something to prove, this year, they are here, knowing who they are and that the sold-out crowd has truly been earned. From the drums of Ryan McMahon, which always form the backbone of their sound, to the jumping, playful bass lines of Robert Keating, Inhaler’s sound is an intricately orchestrated joy. Throw in the texture of Josh Jenkinson’s lead guitar riffs which are always interesting, but never over the top, and Louis Lambert’s awesome synth work that brings each song to another world, and you have a well-oiled instrumental machine. On top of all this is Elijah Hewson’s voice, which seems to be inspired equally by his father, and Brandon Flowers. He finds himself in a great range that takes inspiration, but never mimics.
The night ebbed and flowed, revealing that Inhaler is not a one-trick pony. They can play the energetic banger, just as well as the moody ballad, and the proof is the fan reaction. At this point in the game, an encore can feel like a foregone conclusion, but with this crowd, it felt sincerely necessary. They really are beloved by their fans, and the sheer ferocity with which the audience called for one more tune was astounding. “We can have two more if you want,” is what Hewson responded with and they ended the night showing that even in a year a band can progress without alienating the fun and energy that kickstarted them in the first place. I know that Vancouver will only be waiting for their return.