The Blanks at The Union (2/12/11)

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Standing in the packed crowd of The Union for Twisted last night, I was worried that I wouldn’t remember the whole of The Blanks’s setlist for this review. No such problem occurred. Sam Lloyd (“Ted”) and co. played only three songs, in a slapdash set which lasted no more than 15 minutes.

The Blanks show at Twisted last November went down an absolute treat: The Cube was absolutely full to the brim of intensely excited and slightly drunk Scrubs fans, and the band put on an incredible performance for all. They sounded incredible, and despite making the crowd wait until after midnight for them (due to a performance in Reading) they gave the poor students their money’s worth. Last night was a completely different story.

The Blanks were not scheduled to perform until 1am (again they were performing at another uni earlier in the night, this time Hertfordshire), a time when Twisted is usually closing up shop due to poor attendance. Former Southampton student and DJ Chris Stark (of The Scott Mills Show) warmed up the crowd well, and everyone was buzzing for their first (or second) glimpse of the awkward hospital lawyer and his friends. When they eventually took the stage, everyone roared in appreciation and anticipation; but it wasn’t to be. Lloyd’s microphone wasn’t working, and it took a good five minutes to find one that (kind of) was.

During the first song, a cover of the Scrubs theme ‘Superman’ by Lazlo Bane, the frontman looked worried and concerned due to the lack of volume in his mic, and straight after sought to rectify the problem with the crew working Twisted. The group’s second song was ‘Guy Love’, a song extremely popular with half of the crowd but unknown to the other half. This went down well, and it seemed that the tech problems would just be an inconvenience in an otherwise brilliant performance. It was a sad sight, however, during the band’s third (and final) song, their medley of hits entitled ‘Teenagers Forget Streisand Because the Only Girl Is Cooler Than Dynamite’, to see the guys swapping the shit mic between them to make sure the lead in every part could actually be heard. Surely they deserved better than that?

Unfortunately, the technical problem wasn’t solved when The Blanks made their way off-stage, disheartened and frustrated. The crowd screamed for more, but it wasn’t to be as Starkey took the stage again to DJ into the night. As someone who saw the guys at Twisted last year, I was disappointed; I can’t imagine how someone who didn’t go last year must have felt — £7 entry for hours of waiting and three songs is simply not good enough. It’s difficult to say whether the technical issues cut their set short, as it has been proposed that 15 minutes was in fact all The Blanks were contracted for. I also know that the SUSU crew work extremely hard to put on as many great nights for students as possible, but last night’s display was extremely unfortunate, and it’s hard to overlook it when you consider that the band don’t even use any instruments (the crew have worked much more difficult gigs successfully).

Overall it was a really good night, but for most people I believe it was a complete let-down due to the disappointing performance of the main act (and probably the only reason they went). Having seen The Blanks before, I know they can put on an incredible show, but maybe they just weren’t meant to play here again. Only time will tell how fatal this event will be to the reputation and future success of SUSU events, but I can’t foresee it being helpful in any way, shape or form.

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