Proof that not all music has to be delivered with a deadly seriousness
After an appearance earlier in the day on the Jagermeister acoustic stage, Welsh band The Blackout played their main electric set on the Ronnie James Dio stage, bringing their fun-loving attitudes and post-hardcore music in the manner that it was intended to be received.
The Blackout may be most commonly known as a six-piece ensemble, but for this performance they had expanded to become a septet, welcoming guest drummer Philip Jenkins (from Kids in Glass Houses) to appear alongside Gareth Lawrence. There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing a band with two drummers and it suited the context of their Download set so very well.
Although vocalist Sean Smith has one of those faces that you just want to slap, he has a surprisingly loveable charm that is likely to win you over within the duration of a set. The Welsh band do not hesitate to poke fun at themselves, even rigging a stage backdrop that reads; ‘Fuck The Blackout’. Two giant inflatable hands were erected on stage, each raising a middle finger to the audience in a similarly light-hearted mood. If you are a band like The Blackout at Download (that are often tagged with the ’emo’ label), this is exactly the type of attitude you should take; they called themselves “idiots” and consequently gained the respect and the attention of a good proportion of the onlooking crowd! Even the announcement of the song title ‘Spread Legs Not Lies’ was received with appreciative laughter, indicating the extent of the band’s acceptance at what is often regarded as a heavy metal festival.
The Anthem-like chorus of ‘Children of the Night’ was met with enthusiasm, with the fans co-operating in force. Songs like ‘It’s High Tide, Baby!’ and ‘Save Ourselves (The Warning)’ contributed towards what turned out to be an impressive set. The band even presented a condensed tribute to the headlining acts of the weekend, with a medley comprising of ‘Walk This Way’ (Aerosmith), ‘Back in Black’ (AC/DC) and ‘Killing in the Name’ (Rage Against the Machine). The adolescent scene kids loved it. The metalheads just cringed.
Overall, The Blackout delivered a greatly entertaining set. Their performance was commendable and they turned out to be a fantastic festival band. Maybe Sean Smith’s baby-face is safe for the time being after all...