Friday, 1 February 2013

The Blackout at the Electric Ballroom, Camden

There are some things in life that you can’t help but enjoy, despite knowing you are officially far too old for them (Coco Pops, SpongeBob SquarePants, staying in your PJs until lunchtime…), and it’s exactly the same with music. My personal guilty pleasure is a band from Merthyr TydfilWales called The Blackout, frequently described as ‘post-hardcore’ and a firm favourite with teenagers and readers of Kerrang! magazine.

I first saw them at Download in 2010 and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but admittedly I was fairly drunk. In hindsight I thought that perhaps I had enjoyed it in the same way that one would enjoy 5ive – with great enthusiasm but a serious dose of irony.

I saw them again at Slam Dunk festival last summer, where quite worryingly they put on a better performance than fellow Welshmen Funeral For a Friend! Now that really surprised me. But yet again, I was more than a little drunk (sensing a theme?!), and in hazy retrospect I found myself wondering if my memories were really all that accurate. But a few sober album listens confirmed my suspicions – this was more than just a drunken fling, and now I was confused.

So last Friday at the Electric Ballroom was a revelation, because I learned something that I thought I knew but was never completely sure about  The Blackout are actually good! Maybe not in a Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, going down in history as one of the all-time greats kind of way... but we all know that gigs are about showmanship, sing-along potential and having (beer-fuelled) fun, and The Blackout have that down. Admittedly the average age was about 18, but silver linings and all that – we had an excellent view and there were no queues at the bar.

The Blackout formed in 2003, and they are currently promoting their fourth studio album Start the Party. The album title says it all, because although they might be ‘post-hardcore’ (still not convinced that shoe fits exactly), essentially they are six happy Welshmen who just want to have fun and not sing about misery and bleeding hearts all day – and there is certainly a place for that!

Self-awareness and sense of humour is another plus, and comedy moment of the night came from Sean Smith, in response to a chant of ‘sheep-shagger’ (shame on you teens of Camden!): “Yep, we fuck ‘em and you eat ‘em!” He also made us laugh referring to the ‘heaviest song they’ve written’ before playing It's High Tide Baby, possible their most bubblegum track to date.

All in all it was a very good night, and quite frankly it feels nice to be out of the closet. That’s right ladies and gentleman, my name is Jen, I'm 28 years old, and I like The Blackout. And you know what? I’m not even sorry!

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