The Blackout New@ Newcastle O2 Academy 2, January 21 2013

While the rest of the city battled the elements simply to get home, a sold-out crowd packed the cramped surroundings of Newcastle’s O2 Academy 2 after accepting The Blackout’s invitation to party.

Following the release of their latest album Start The Party, the band rocked up in the snow intent on delivering a red hot set to warm the adolescent audience to the core. Ably warmed up by Proxies and Sonic Boom 6, the Welsh rockers threw themselves into a fantastically ferocious set. 

From the very first growl and note that came from frontmen Sean Smith and Gavin Butler – the yin and yang of vocalists – the crowd threatened to test the floorboards to their limits. Kicking off with Start The Party, the lads ripped through their back catalogue, blending old with new.

Higher and Higher, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Spread Legs, Not Lies and Hope, showcased the growing repertoire the band has in its arsenal. To flick seamlessly between old and new is a great talent considering the album only officially launched earlier in the day. To garner such a reception with each new song must be an ego booster too.

As is always expected at a Blackout gig, the cheeky chappy shtick was in full flow from the two leaders as the rest were happy to burn through the music. At one point the crowd were even treated to a choice of two different songs, the overwhelming pick being It’s High Tide Baby.

By the band’s own admission, Newcastle had been controversially overlooked on the last tour. But Smith must be glad that on this occasion it was the music people were talking about, rather than his very public bust up with fans at the band’s last Toon gig.

The most eventful moment of an otherwise flawless set was the makeshift balloons that perched over the crowd, missing their cue to be released.

Seeing the night out with crowd favourites I’m A Riot? You’re a Fucking Riot! and Save our Selves this was a solid effort from a band that was staring at a bleak future not so long ago.

And a band you’ll no doubt be hearing much more of this year…

Andrew Spoors