Whether you are a fan of The Blackout’s music or not, I’d recommend going to see them at least for the banter. The show starts with I’m a Riot, You’re a F**cking Riot! A hard and fast beginning which menas there’s a dense collection of people jostling for pole position when they walk out on stage. The first impression is an energetic, tight group of musicians who really enjoy every second of being on the stage. They play to a relatively small Bournemouth venue as if they were playing to a stadium.
To my delight, in-between song breaks are full of hilarity and it turns out singers Gavin Butler and Sean Smith are quite the comedians. I suppose some may be insulted by hearing “If you don’t dance that means you’re a dick and everybody else here hates you” before the start of a song but as the crowd have been non stop moving from the get-go they don’t bat an eyelid. We’re Going to Hell So Bring the Sun Block is full of heavy breakdowns and huge riffs, followed by a more punk-rock This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. The fans have warmed up quickly and we’re only three songs in.
I couldn’t write about seeing The Blackout without also mentioning the microphone twirling skills of frontman Gavin Butler. Although I did wonder why he wasn’t using a cordless mic while he was wandering through the crowd, it soon became clear that without it, he couldn’t pop any microphone 360’s. This also wouldn’t have allowed him to throw the mic to a fan mid song and let them sing with him, pulling the mic back when he was done.
Hope sounds brilliant, one of the slower turns of the set until everyone is shouting “Scream it out loud!”. This is followed by Children of The Night where the crowd take over the intro from the band. A highlight has to be witnessing possibly the first (and probably only) ever ”crawl of death”. This is to kick off Radio, and at first it goes horrible wrong resulting in Gavin stopping the first bars of the song and ordering a restart as the crowd didn’t go when he told them to. They restart after the frontman makes it clear what everyone has to do in another quick-witted bit of banter, claiming “The most important person in the room is me, not you, it’s not a freak show tonight love it’s a gig”. After everyone gets the message, a slow crawl begins from each side of the room towards each other and when they meet in the middle it’s a rather entertaining mess on the floor.
On announcing that there are three songs left there are, of course, the inevitable cries for more. What I don’t expect is that a bit of banter between band members results in an impromptu jam of Vengabus by the Vengaboys, followed by a bit of KoRn’s Blind into Pretty Fly For a White Guy. It’s a great moment, and a bit of an insight to what it must be like when they’re recording or trying to write – just a load of fun.
The comic insults start again “This song is for the beautiful ladies here tonight, not you you’re alright… This is called Spread Legs Not Lies…” Start the Fire closes the set for the band to hang around for a club night afterwards. It’s been a great show, the fans all leave happy and exhausted. Meanwhile I’m left with a smile on my face and make a note to catch them again next time they are in town.