The first gig of the year was one of great expectations, and all in all a night that ended up living up to them.
The Blackout, with a new album ‘Start The Party’, came out to rapturous screams, yet we couldn’t help but question why they were in a venue so small, after the last album’s success and the great venues, and festival season they had last year.
Not one to burden ourselves with small issues like that, or indeed the weirdly early, ‘because we have a Friday night chav night on’, curfew, they kicked off with new song, and first single from ‘Start the Party’. It was good, fresh, Limp Bizkit ready, but seemed lacklustre. There was something missing from this Blackout show so far – something we couldn’t put my finger on. It would seem that singers Sean and Gavin felt the same, with the typical ‘let’s see if you can be the best crowd’ goads.
A set that was played well, though the sound wasn’t quite as loud as it could have been, and the band (and their egos) couldn’t all fit on the tiny stage, they were, in actual fact, playing for a stage that was much more befitting of their talent. Time to reminisce of the days when the Astoria was still standing. It was a good setlist, with songs from all past albums and EPs, but there were a lot of seemingly overplayed songs and gimmicks. It is quite a feat to get the whole crowd on their knees though, and aside from the cool kids right at the back, they managed that during their final song ‘Save Our Selves (The Warning)’, climaxing in the biggest pit the Ballroom has seen for a while.
Frontman Sean Smith, a chameleon with his hair colour, had an added bonus for the party songs…a confetti cannon, which, colourful and fun, stuck to the back of the sweaty boys in the pit, distracting us slightly from the music! Highlights? ‘I’m A Riot?’, ‘Start the Party’ and ‘It’s High Tide Baby’. A solid effort, and a pat on the back for almost making us forget that Ian Watkins was from the same town.
Reviewer: Jessica Kempner