@ Newcastle Northumbria University Students’ Union, April 7 2011

A frenzied Newcastle crowd found out the hard way: if you mess with The Blackout you’re likely to get knocked out.

Always a band that would stand up and fight for its future, lead singer Sean Smith quite literally came out swinging at Northumbria University. 

Warmed up by US rap/rocker Hyro Da Hero and fellow compatriots The Swellers, the young and rowdy crowd awaited the Welsh sextet with baited breath. A mix of songs from new album Hope and tracks spanning their previous three releases whipped the crowd to maximum velocity.

Children Of The Night, The Best In Town , Hope and new single Higher And Higher were highlights of the night but the main event was yet to unfold. Already sporting cuts and black eyes from a Glasgow nightclub accident, singer Smith was subjected to several projectiles that, put mildly, wouldn’t have helped heal his injuries.

Dodging a fourth shoe proved to be the final straw. After an attempt to crowd dive to confront the culprit was thwarted by security, the hot headed lead ran the length of the partition and through the back of the crowd. The ensuing scuffle saw his band mates join the fray in a vain effort to calm the situation.

Confusion reigned until an apologetic Smith arrived back on stage, more determined than ever to finish the show on a high. Save Our Selves brought the curtain down on a tumultuous night that few fans will forget.

Back to the music and singers Smith and Gavin Butler are the band’s biggest draw. The emotion that drips from their vocals is the reason why The Blackout offer something different from the numerous rock acts hailing from the valleys. The Yin and Yang, salt and pepper, sweet and sour effect the couple have provides the gruff growls and dulcet tones that spearhead the majority of tracks. The Davies brothers supply sultry and at times outstanding guitar work to ensure the band is more than a two man act.

The off-stage brawl was an unfortunate event that fits perfectly with the band’s streak of bad luck, riddling their past. A genuinely talented act should never have to fight so hard and overcome so many difficulties to make it to the top. But at least this band is willing to show its muscle by any means necessary.

Andy Spoors