Coming on-stage one by one to face screaming fans and a sweatbox of a venue, the Welsh rockers open with a song off new album ‘Hope’ (which drops 4th April), which bought out the first crowd surfer of the night.
A promising start. As the words ‘we are the children of the night’ rang out through the small venue, more screams went up and even more when Gavin jumped into the crowd to scream into the faces of the adoring fans. Proceeding with ‘The Fire’ and old favourite ‘Hard Slammin’’ the band proceed to dangerously swing their microphones as the crowd thrash around the small dance floor.
“I prefer new faces” Sean Smith laughs after asking the crowd who’s seen the band before, “the old ones tend to be a bit ugly… Anyway who bought our album? And who illegally downloaded it?” When a few screams go up for the latter option, Sean puts on a ‘posh’ accent and asks us why we’re thieves when we live in Oxford. “If you know this next song, I want you to sing along, you posh poofs!” he commands still using the ‘posh’ accent before the opening chords of ‘It’s High Tide Baby’ fills the room.
Treating the crowd to the title song of their new record, ‘Hope,’ the crowd still show enthusiasm even though they can’t sing along, but instead choose to scream and cry out the names of the members. The Blackout also treat us to another new song ‘By Your Side’ with the guitar rifts and drums executed so well you wish the album was already on your iTunes.
Ending on ‘I’m a Riot’ off their first EP: ‘The Blackout! The Blackout! The Blackout!’ the crowd opens the pit for what they believe to be a final time and coughs up a few crowd surfers who run back to join the pit seconds after being hauled over the barrier. With a ‘thank you Oxford!’ the sextet leave the stage and soon enough the crowd begins to chant “we are the dynamite!” in an attempt to bring the band back out.
On the opening riff of ‘STFUppercut’ the pit re-opens and Sean and Gavin proceed to thrash around the stage. “A big fuck you to whoever stole my watch during that” Sean says after the song’s ended and before launching into new single “Higher and Higher,” which features support act Hyro Da Hero. “I’ve been waiting for this song all night” exclaims one fan before shoving her way into the pit to which another fan responds with “fucking new fan” before screaming along. The fans scream even more, if that was possible, when Hyro eventually gets on the stage to do his rap which most of the crowd knows.
Donning one of the bands own shirts, Sean Smith struts around the stage with an air of cockiness; it’s a wonder how his ego managed to fit on the cramped stage. Having said that, the fans still scream for him, and to give credit where it is due, Sean Smith is one hell of a front man and knows how to get a reaction declaring: “Women don’t really understand technology, do they? Unless it’s a toaster or microwave,” which drew out applause from the male fans and a few “fuck you”‘s” and middle fingers from the females.
Ending on crowd pleaser ‘Save Our Selves (The Warning)’ which has the crowd joining in with the “oh oh oh”’s. “Let’s see if we can do this without me saying anything…” Sean drawls in his Welsh accent. A few clueless fans watch in awe as everyone begins to crouch down before doing the same as the band look on with beaming smiles. A few people around the edges stay standing, arms crossed as if they’re daring the Welshmen to make a comment about their disobedience. However the band disregards them and goes on with the song. “Going out, going out, going out…” they sing before the crowd jump up and the pit resumes at full force for the last minute or so.
Equipped with heavy riffs that will send the dance floor into a moshing frenzy and banter from the front men, the Blackout are definitely a band to see.