black out

Following knockout performances from their supporters, The Blackout took to the stage before the riled up crowd. The fans may have already been enjoying themselves, but as the band took their rightful place before them, they commanded all attention.

Vocalists Sean Smith and Gavin Butler bounded around the small stage. They were like yin and yang to one another: Butler all dark-haired blue-eyed, and Smith, all blonde, tall and gangly. Butler crooned the clean vocals, while Smith supported him with powerful screams.

Although Butler was calm and genuine, Smith presented himself in a dramatic way, pulling faces and dancing about. He could have been compared to a small child suffering with ADHD, who was given one too many sugar sticks and then let loose. Taking any chance that presented itself to insult his fans, Smith would constantly say they weren’t rowdy enough and even told one man, “I hope you die in a fire,” in what could only be described as the friendliest way possible. He was also fond of messing with the objects at his disposal, wrapping the microphone chord around his neck or pulling his t-shirt over his head while singing.

During one of the first songs, Smith leaped onto the floor with the crowd and jumped around while continuing on with the song. The mass engulfed him to the point where he was invisible from a few feet away. The only indication of his presence was the occasional echoing of his vocals. Many, many rough vocalists can let out a scream that could ring for miles, but no one can scream quite like The Blackout’s skinny hyperactive frontman. He has a set of lungs on him that put all the others to shame.

In comparison to Smith, who was a show in and of himself, the rest of the band put on the standard rock performance: playing hard and giving it their all. The energy was as max height from beginning to end.

During one of the songs, the frontmen asked the entire audience to turn around and face the back wall away from the stage while they were playing. Sneaking a glance behind, Smith was also facing away from the audience, while Butler continued to sing to the backs of his fans. At the breakdown, the crowd erupted into a ‘backwards mosh,’ which was a sight to see. Instead of moving about, they surged backward toward the stage pushing their crowd-member’s backs against the platform.

The Blackout played a combination of songs from their old albums and some of their new tracks from their self-released Kickstarter EP, Wolves. “If you don’t have Wolves yet you’re stupid,” Smith exclaimed. “I’m in this band and it’s my favorite record, but even if I wasn’t, it would still be my favorite record.”

Toward the end of the set, the vocalists had the audience crouch down on the floor. Butler ducked down as well on the stage while Smith stood above everyone, looking down on them like a king before his subjects. “Don’t jump up until I tell you,” he commanded. They ended their encore with ‘Save Our Selves,’ the crowd screaming along to the lyrics “this is a blackout!” The high energy continued to the end, when the Welsh rockers spun on their heels with a smile and exited the darkened stage.

Words & Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Ulrich

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