The Blackout - Manchester Academy 2
Whilst the majority of Manchester relished the rare sunshine Friday evening had to offer, 800 of the city’s savvy scenesters chose to spend their time in much darker conditions. Cramming into the dimly-lit, sweat-tinged Academy 2 venue, fans eagerly awaited the arrival of rising rockers The Blackout, whose band name had never seemed so fitting.
Having released their third album Hope just four days earlier, the Welsh sextet strolled onto the stage and instantly launched into new song ‘Ambition Is Critical’. Kick-starting chaos amongst the crowd, the tune triggered mass sing-a-longs, impressive considering the record had not even been out a week. Spicing up the setlist with some older material, spectators’ screams reached ear-deafening volume during aptly-titled ‘Children Of The Night’, metal flavoured ‘Murder In The Make-Believe Ballroom’ and live anthem ‘It’s High Tide Baby’.
In between blasting out post-hardcore hits, sprightly frontmen Sean Smith and Gavin Butler swapped their usual cheeky stage banter for sincere speeches, thanking the audience, who were often referred to as the riot squad, for the continual support. Unsurprisingly, the constant praise was incredibly well-received, further prompting the enthusiastic punters to let loose and enjoy the rest of the evening. The already electric atmosphere reached a phenomenal high, as the group, who were clearly in their element, continued to unleash their trademark soft-meets-heavy sound.
As the set came to a close, it was obvious that an encore was on the cards, with the Merthyr Tydfil mob re-emerging on the stage as quick as they had left it, following chants of "we want more" from the packed room. Rounding the sell-out show off nicely, ‘Higher And Higher’, which saw a guest appearance from support act Hyro Da Hero, was particularly entertaining, as was finale ‘Save Our Selves’.
The six-piece’s 75-minute performance was exceptional. Spending the evening indoors instead of a beer garden, proved to be a very wise decision indeed.