Twin Atlantic

Gig Review: Twin Atlantic, Barrowlands, Glasgow, 6th May 2011

For Twin Atlantic, tonight’s gig is a celebration. Having more than proved themselves on the touring circuit, opening for high profile bands such as My Chemical Romance and The Smashing Pumpkins, it is now their turn to headline the larger stages. They may be bigger in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK, but with more performances like tonight’s and with their debut full-length being as critically acclaimed as it is, it won’t be long until they’re recognised as one of Britain’s truly outstanding bands.

Firstly, The Lafontaines (7) are a curious bunch – they stride on stage like any other indie-looking opening act, and then they start to play. The riffs rock, and the crowd bounces, and then their lead singer, Kerr Okan, raps. At first, it’s a bit of a shock to the system, but the novelty wears off just as quickly and they truly do captivate their audience. A strongly Scottish accent spitting mad rhymes (sorry) is a rarity, and perhaps rightly so, but they don’t take themselves too seriously, they are a lot of fun, and a cover of LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem’ gets even the most cynical punter tapping their foot and nodding their head. This is the last stop of the tour for The Lafonatines, and they can definitely label tonight as a success.

Fighting With Wire (7) are, unsurprisingly, completely different. While they don’t exactly get the crowd going the same way The Lafontaines do, it’s not through lack of trying and talent. Their alternative rock style is right at home at a Twin Atlantic gig, and the sound that the three-piece create is massive. Vocalist/guitarist Cahir O’Doherty manages to woo the crowd with his Irish accent alone, but his passion in both vocal delivery and his intense, intricate guitar playing is incredibly impressive. They deserve to be headlining shows this size, and with more tunes like ‘Everyone Needs a Nemesi’s, such an aspiration should not be seen as an impossibility.

This is a massive night for Twin Atlantic (9) – having followed them since 2008, I’ve seen them grow from playing the intimate King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, to the QMU, to the ABC, selling out every one of them. Tonight is their largest sell-out show to date, and the reception they receive is nothing less than overwhelming. Storming the stage with ‘Free’ from their new album of the same name, it’s clear everyone is here to celebrate alongside the band at how far they have come.

It truly is staggering to see the love that tonight’s crowd has for Twin Atlantic. For more than half of the set, it’s hard to hear Sam McTrusty over how loud the 1,900 people in attendance are singing/shouting. New songs ‘Edit Me’ and ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ produce sing-alongs that are usually reserved for songs that have been being played for years. Old-song-but-only-recently-recorded ‘Crash Land’ is quite possibly the highlight of the night when McTrusty is visibly moved by how many people are singing, and truly meaning, every single word.

In amongst the new tracks, 2009’s mini album ‘Vivarium’ also gets played in its entirety and still goes down a storm. From the straight forward rock of ‘Lightspeed’ to the more experimental technicality of ‘Caribbean War Syndrome’, Twin Atlantic deliver a performance that is always professional and always tight.

For some reason, the strobe lighting is on overdrive throughout the gig and becomes more than just a little irritating. I believe in the overall presentation of a show, more than just the band on stage, and at times the lighting became a distraction from the magic happening on stage. A minor complaint, perhaps, but when you feel the need to close your eyes or look away, it can take you out of such a powerful moment. But really, for every annoying strobe light, there is a song like ‘A Guidance From Colour’ that makes you forget you were annoyed at something in the first place. A triumphant stage dive at the end of closer ‘You’re Turning Into John Wayne’ just goes to show just how McTrusty trusts and appreciates his fans, and as he stands tall on the barrier with his hands aloft, it is a successful finish to tonight’s celebration.

It is seriously impressive how far Twin Atlantic have come in the last few years. Yet to release anything that has received negative press, yet to play a headline show that has let anyone down, it is likely that their success is only going to continue. May the venues increase in size, and may they be an inspiration to many young bands out there because this is the standard they will be measured against. And that is a very high standard indeed.


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