The Blackout  - Manchester Academy 1- 04.10.08
supports: The Medic Droid / We Are the Ocean / From First to Last

Four bands took to the stage at Manchester Academy 1 tonight, which meant very little waiting around for the nine-hundred-plus kids who were eagerly awaiting the headline act. The first of these bands, ‘The Medic Droid’, a three piece outfit from America, performed their brand of pop-rock (emphasis on pop) to the already swelling crowd. Using mainly a drum kit, synthesized vocals and a keytar (a keyboard shaped like a guitar), the band showed how the atmosphere in the room would eventually shape into something impressive. However, too many synthesized sounds and a lack of guitars meant they failed to fill the stage. Although popular with the younger audience, it felt to me this band were part of the ‘myspace scene’ that would probably collapse in a few months’ time.

We Are The Ocean’ are a band on a quick rise to fame. Only recently playing with ‘Fightstar’ at ‘Manchester Academy 3’, it’s clear to see how their popularity has risen since. The crowd doubled in size by the time ‘We Are The Ocean’ kicked in with their first song, and it seems that a large portion of the crowd may even be there just for them. The band are very good at what they do, but, sadly, what they do is almost a complete replica of the popular American band ‘Alexisonfire’.  The singer and guitarist evidently idolizes Dallas Green (of the same role in Alexisonfire). This does, however, lead to impressive vocal melodies and an exciting energy on stage, and their latest myspace hit, ‘Save Me Said The Saviour’, goes down incredibly well with the fans.

The main support of the night, ‘From First To Last’, don’t fail to impress the crowd, but it does seem as if they are ready by this point for ‘The Blackout’. ‘From First To Last’ are an impressively tight band: the technical guitar work and an exciting stage presence are enough to keep the crowd going. The new songs seem calmer than their older material; perhaps this is a product of  singer ‘Sonny Moore’ leaving the band?

Almost as soon as ‘From First To Last’ leave the stage, the crowd are chanting ‘We Are The Dynamite!’ The energy in the room is huge. ‘The Blackout’ have been working hard for years to reach this point, and they must have been thrilled to see it finally pay off when their Manchester Academy 2 date was expanded to the larger Academy 1 venue.  Although Academy 1 was not sold out tonight, by no means did the room feel empty. It may be because there are six members of ‘The Blackout’, but they were the first band to fill the stage this evening, running up and down and literally bouncing off each other at points. The energy the Blackout displayed tonight shows how excited they are to be performing, and it rubbed off on the crowd tonight who didn’t seem to stop for a breather. Perfected guitar tones, screaming vocals that blended smoothly with flowing melodies and technical drum work shaped what ‘The Blackout’ have become. The music they play borders on metal, but it is metal that doesn’t need to be taken too seriously. This is part of why ‘The Blackout’ are so entertaining to watch.

It is obvious that ‘The Blackout’ aren’t quite yet as established as they would like to be. They rely on material from their first album and earliest ep such as ‘Spread Legs Not Lies’, ‘Make believe Ballroom’ and ‘It’s High Tide Baby’ they also resort to ‘rock montages’ and a cover of‘ ‘I kissed a girl’ by ‘Katy Perry’ to fill an hour. This, however, adds to the fun and again shows how the band don’t take themselves too seriously, something that bands far too often do. Sean Smith’s Welsh charm shone through this evening and drew the fans even further in to the atmosphere; the crowds seeming to feed off every word the two front men say.

Some would argue that this is the peak of fame for ‘The Blackout’, but I think it is only the beginning.  The impressive display tonight of loyalty from the fans and an incredible performance from the band show they will be around for some time to come.

WORDS: Edward Lewis


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