The Blanks — Live!
So...this isn't actually a TV show. But it's to do with TV, so we thought it was worth shouting about.
On Friday, the Midlands-based of the Television @ The Digital Fix team went to Warwick University SU to see The Blanks play live. If you're a fan of medical-comedy dramas then you've probably seen The Blanks perform on TV multiple times, but you'll know them as either The Worthless Peons or Foghat, and you'll be used to seeing them like this...
...and you'll probably know them as "Ted's Band from Scrubs". But actually they look like this...
...and are, quite honestly, brilliant.
The Blanks are an a cappella band who sing everything from Over the Rainbow to Katy Perry's Teenage Dream to the Superman March by John Williams. As soon as we heard there we tickets we were falling over ourselves to get them.
And we were both right and wrong to do so. Because although The Blanks themselves were utterly amazing, the gig was not. Dean and Garry said it best on Twitter — the venue was just all wrong. The Blanks are a skilled, melodic band and the gig was in a nightclub. Straight after they finished performing, it turned into a party with a Doctors and Nurses theme. Instead of people actually listening to them the venue was stuffed with drunk students dressed in what was apparently a nurse's costume but would most certainly breach NHS health and safety guidelines (it's dangerous to have boobs just floppng out whilst you're administering injections).
Drunk students ready to party are just not the best audience for this kind of thing. I know, I'm a Warwick student, we're bloody awful. The Blanks are a good band, they deserved seats and people who actually listen. Why Warwick put them in the SU rather than in the Arts Centre 20 metres away, I'll never know, but it was an injustice to The Blanks.
Because they were and are utterly brilliant. It's not just a concert when you watch them, it's a performance. They mix comedy into their act and every single thing they do is styled to perfection. Plus, they're pretty flipping nifty at singing too. Just check out this video.
I want to see them again. Getting stuck in traffic meant that I was right at the back of the queue; a boyfriend with a joint condition means that we can't fight to the front. I'm only little, so spent most of the gig standing on tip-toes trying to see through gaps in-between heads. What I could see was brilliant (at one point they threw a glass of water over a bum-shaking toy whilst singing "Maniac") but I just couldn't see them.
If you get a chance to see them, do it. You can buy their first album here, as well as t-shirts, undies and stickers. I have everything crossed that they tour again, but that this time I'll be able to watch them with an audience who appreciates how talented they are and doesn't talk over everything.
Putting aside the vagaries of the venue for a minute, the show itself was fantastic. It was certainly a comedy show, rather than a gig, with a story arc and sketches in between the songs. The concept was fairly simple: trying to tick of a checklist of everything a good show should have, but it leads to some fun self-referential moments, including a mock storming-off-stage from one of them when it comes time to perform that song from Scrubs. There's also some wonderful facial acting and dancing going on in some of the songs, alas something likely lost on anyone stood more than five rows back.
Some latter songs break the rules of acappella by bringing in an acoustic guitar (and at one point, a talking pumpkin) which proves a wise choices as the the extra strength it brings to the songs helps to fill the otherwise cavernous venue, and a great cover version of Hey Ya closes the show in style.