The Fleece, Bristol

the Blackout

Tonight sees The Blackout finishing a tour which should have recharged their batteries. Following a frustrating end to 2013, the band were forced to cancel what should have been this current tour a few months ago, and reschedule as best they could. Luckily, this band is well known for having a dedicated fan base, so the disappointing news following Gavin Butler’s illness was received with sympathy and generally understanding responses.

Beyond Recall

Beyond Recall 

Opening affairs is local outfit, Beyond Recall, whose atmospheric intro leads into a typically expected display of heavy sub drops and beefy riffs throughout their set. The formula for this band sadly remains consistent, with labrador like enthusiasm helping to shroud themselves from the fact that they are just another one of those “Rise Record Hopeful” types. Just as things seem to pick-up, the band perform a cover of “Low” by Flo Rida, which is similar to Brokencyde’s appalling version. Finally, their latest single “Up Up!” closes their set, but has to be restarted, which results in their front man glaring at his drummer with contempt. There’s potential for this band, but unless they tighten their professionalism and workout a way to make themselves stand out from the rest, they will be doomed to be the opening act for longer than they’d like.

Rat Attack

Rat Attack 12

Moving away from excessive sub drops and backing tracks, we have the raw talent of Rat Attack, who made impressive movements throughout last year through the release of their debut EP and tour support slots across the country. Immediately the four piece burst into a typically exuberant set, dressed in smart clothing, with front man, Mike Hodges smiling from ear to ear in his sparkly top and jacket. It’s latest single “Saturday Night Feeling” which has the audience on their side, as their front man revels in the pride of this infectious anthem. It’s former single “Heartbeat” which steals the show for their set, with the best response of the night and a shared feeling that this band are set to win over many more fans this year.

Lost Alone

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Main support for tonight are no strangers to their place on the line-up, as LostAlone have played before many of the giants of the alternative scene. However, tonight’s performance proves once and for all that this band are ready to take the big step to becoming the giants that they deserve to be. Material from their upcoming third album, such as “Guilty” and “Hostages” oozes fluidity and confidence in their performance, marking a significant improvement compared to when I saw them support The Darkness a couple of months ago. It seems that LostAlone’s unmistakable presence and enormous sound is only improving with time, and the eccentric Steven Battelle’s mind scattering guitar playing continues to stun the crowd throughout their set. Harmony induced sing-alongs are too rare nowadays, but the infectious single “Love Will Eat You Alive” once again draws things to a close in a typically outstanding fashion. Judging from tonight’s performance, LostAlone are set for bigger things than they could ever imagine.

The Blackout

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The Blackout will have treated this tour as their way back into the limelight, as they rise from the ashes of the original tour schedule to finish in style tonight. Despite the venue hardly being packed, the dedicated fans at the front voice their love for this band as “I’m a Riot? You’re a Fucking Riot!” explodes into life, showcasing the soaring vocal quality of a thankfully healthy Gavin Butler. I must admit that seeing this band for the fourth time in around two years has left me slightly jaded, but this most likely stems from the below par achievement of latest album “Start The Party” which offers little in comparison to previous records “Best In Town” and “Hope”, with the likes of “Children of the Night” and “Higher and Higher” dwarfing recent single “Radio”. Nevertheless, I’ll never tire of the relentless energy this band offers on-stage. The flamboyant Sean Smith unleashes his typically potent screams which rattle the pillars holding the venue together, while his partner in crime, Gavin manages to remain vocally flawless throughout their set. The band mentioned that they will soon be taking a break to write a new album, which should be the answer to overcoming their misfortune last year. Nevertheless, The Blackout will always remain loved by their dedicated fans and their live performances are without doubt unlike any other you’ll see. Let’s hope the best is yet to come for this much loved outfit.


Words by George Fullerton.
Photos by Ed Smith.

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