Inhaler performs at 9:30 Club on March 13, 2023. (Photo by Lewis Evan)
Bono of U2 may be the biggest male rock star in the world. So if any of his children were to follow him into the rock star business, it would be understandable to ask if their success might stem from actual talent or from dad’s showbiz connections.
Well, Elijah Hewson, son of Bono, demonstrated he does indeed have the goods in two recent sold-out shows at 9:30 Club. Also like his dad, Elijah made the magic happen as a team with three talented friends, in his case as frontman of the band Inhaler, on tour from their home in Dublin, Ireland.
Inhaler recently released their sophomore album Cuts & Bruises. At 9:30 Club on March 13, in the first of those two sold-out shows, the band split the show roughly 50/50 between their new album and their first one, 2021’s It Won’t Always Be Like This. Elijah, bassist Robert Keating, guitarist Josh Jenkinson, and drummer Ryan McMahon entered a groove and clicked together really well from the start of the show until the very end!
Inhaler began the show with “These Are The Days,” a catchy single from Cuts & Bruises. It was a refreshing radio-friendly rock ditty, and 23-year-old Elijah’s voice was strong and clear. At certain points, you could hear his father’s influence on his voice, but Elijah certainly has developed his own style. From the center of the stage, Elijah played his guitar from his hip and swiveled in time to the music, stirring the excited audience members to bounce along in time.
Watch a live performance of “These Are the Days” by Inhaler for Vevo on YouTube:
At about two-thirds through the show, Inhaler performed “Love Will Get You There,” another popular single from Cuts & Bruises. The song was a little more soothing and reassuring and a bit less raucous, although certainly not a slow song. The band kept it mellow with “Dublin in Ecstasy,” also from the new album, while showing a bit more of their new wave leanings. Touring keyboardist Louis Lambert became more prominent in songs such as this one as he nicely complemented the guitarists with a bit of sparkle. The band appropriately added a dash of reverb toward the end of the number, but they also picked up the pace to end it on a very uptempo note.
Inhaler ended the main set with “Cheer Up Baby” from debut record It Won’t Always Be Like This. It was a wonderfully bright song that made full use of the band’s powers and showcased Elijah’s easy-going guitar playing. Their two-song encore needed with the album’s title track, an uplifting number that truly soared. The packed room couldn’t help but sing along.
Watch the official music video for “It Won’t Always Be Like This” by Inhaler on YouTube:
That first Inhaler album debuted at No. 1 on the United Kingdom and Irish album charts. But it also dropped during days of pandemic lockdowns, preventing Inhaler from giving the album a proper tour right away. They first dropped into DC about a year ago to perform at 9:30 Club in March 2022. Those of us Americans who hadn’t caught on then were surely listening by now, when we flocked to 9:30 Club for these completely committed dates. Given that Inhaler’s strong second album dropped less than two years after their impressive debut, it’s clear that Inhaler doesn’t have any challenges when it comes to producing great music.
And so it won’t be long before these guys are selling out arenas, like Elijah’s dad. And the audience at 9:30 Club were clearly savoring the moment, knowing they could always say they saw them in such an intimate space at such a great spot for the band.
Here are a few photos of Inhaler performing at 9:30 Club on March 13, 2023. All pictures by Lewis Evan.