A while back I won Blackout goodies from a competition that the 02 Bristol ran, I got special edition trainers, Hoodie, T-shirt and the latest CD. So when I saw the comp about tickets for a secret gig at a tiny place in London I just had to enter…..and, I did win… 🙂 I must have been born under a lucky star!

The gig was going to be held at the Old Blue Last near Liverpool street station, new grounds for us. The gig was also being recorded for TV, ITV 2 I think, trouble is you had to be there by 4:30…..aaarrggghhh, I don’t finish work till then. I ask my boss if it was ok to leave work at 3pm and make up the hours next week, at no point did I mention music or gig…..he looked at me and said: no doubt you are going to queue up for some band or other?..he knows me too well!!

I left work at 3pm, picked up Neil and off we go, we were running late though, why did it take so long to get into London? It was about 16:50 when we finally arrived at the venue, it was a “rough” looking place with plenty of character. The actual live music bit was up some dingy stairs, it was a small room with a bar to your right and a tiny stage on the left. We managed to squeeze in just by the front, well, second row on stage right. A few minutes later The Blackout come on stage, they have to push through the fans to get onto the stage, 6 of them are crammed on there. Now the cameramen appear, again struggling through the little crowd. The Blackout say a quick hello and mention that they will be playing the whole of their album “Hope“. I expected to have to use my earplugs, they boys are loud at times and I didn’t have too much hope for the sound quality, but as they started their first song I was pleasantly surprised, the sound was pretty good. Through one of the songs one of the lead singers, Sean Smith, comes into the crowd and stays in the middle of us for quite a while, nice touch! While Gavin Butler, the other singer held the attention on the stage. The guitar changes were fun too, I’m not sure where the guys came from, but suddenly people were saying : Excuse me can I get through please…, and there they were trying to pass different guitars onto the stage and grab the ones not needed for the moment, oh the joy’s of having fans…lol!
Sean also entertained with gimmicks like pulling himself up on the rig (I bet the technicians love him), winding his mic round his neck as if he is trying to hang himself…I have to say, both of the singers are brilliant front men and the whole band are very good musicians.

The cameramen dissapeared after the first few songs, so they weren’t filming the whole set I guess. Quite near the end a man in black (I guess it was a security guard) pushed himself quite rudely past people right to the front of the stage, trying to get the bands attention, mid song? not the best idea! He had to wait till the end and basically told them there was only time for one more track and they had to stop after that, luckily they only had to miss one out.

Once they finished Gavin said they will be outside to meet the fans in a little while, it was still early so we might as well hang around and wait. I managed to get Sean’s attention and he passed me one of the set lists, :-)!  As we made our way downstairs the camera crew were filming us leaving the venue….
As we sat downstairs with a drink waiting I had a chance to look around, the place is ok, not great but not brilliant. I guess if I lived locally I would spend time here. The staff seem a touch unfriendly, too many people to cope with maybe? We went outside and managed to catch up with Sean and Gavin, they both signed my set list and Gavin posed for a photo too. The remaining band members seem to have disappeared, shame! I felt the boys need to practise handling their fans, a few people were waiting patiently for attention and I felt they let themselves be dominated by certain ones….

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About FrontRowStef

Following months of putting in the necessary hours of research, I have been bullied into writing a blog about my gig experiences! I can’t claim in-depth technical musical knowledge, or a massive CD collection, but, I know what I like and what doesn’t sound good in a live setting. I’m not intending to write great reviews about bands, but more of stuff that happen to me while out and about. Like when a dear friend of mine pointed out that it looks like I’m putting my towel down when I hit the barriers at the front and claim my spot with my jacket draped over the railings. What does he mean? Is it because I’m German? Enough introductions, you will get to know me sooner or later! Oh and apparently I’m going to be referred to as Front Row Stef, simply because that is my rightful place!

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