Scottish band The Twilight Sad returned to The Kazimier to showcase the dark but rousing indie sounds of last year’s latest album. This is a slightly amended version of my review of this gig for Getintothis.
Time and cash constraints meant I avoided the pub beforehand, merely settling for a pint of Liverpool Organic’s Cascade from the Kaz while the DJ set the mood with some Joy Division and Siouxsie And The Banshees.
Support came from another Scottish outfit, an Edinburgh duo called Man Of Moon. Their songs were driven by powerful drummer Mikey Reid (sporting a Twilight Sad t-shirt) who battled with a recalcitrant microphone. Chris Bainbridge’s guitar and uncertain vocals helped give the band a surf and space rock edge to the more typical Black Keys sound generated by many similar duos, with them being defiantly more about grooves than simply tunes. As the headline act’s singer said of them, definitely a band to keep an eye out for.
The DJ then returned to some goth-tinged indie classics including The Velvet Underground’s seminal Sister Ray, Joy Division again (Disorder), Fascination Street by The Cure, The Fall’s Blindness and some My Bloody Valentine.
After a haunting intro tape of a young girl singing, The Twilight Sad exploded onto The Kazimier stage for the last date of their current UK tour, in support of their most recent LP Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.
The five-piece band are dominated musically by Johnny Docherty’s bass and the rock steady Mark Devine on drums (sporting a Borussia Dortmund shirt and looking a bit like the Liverpool Echo’s Kristian Walsh), with Andy MacFarlane on guitar and Brendan Smith’s keyboards acting as the supporting cast. However, the centre of attention visually is their utterly compelling frontman.
Singer James Graham is one of the most passionate and charismatic singers treading the boards these days. He brought to mind a mutant combination of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and Samuel T. Herring from Future Islands, with all eyes on his chest bashing, fist pumping, head knocking, crouching and mike stand wielding antics.
The band kicked off with the first two tracks from the latest album before delving back to the debut. They played the vast majority of their current release, but the set list revisited all other points in their eight-year recording career, with Drown So I Can Watch off the new album being the best received number in the early part of the set, despite it sounding a bit pedestrian to this writer.
Things picked up again with the dense I Became A Prostitute off 2009’s Forget The Night Ahead, with the new album’s brooding Leave The House and anthemic It Never Was The Same also highlights.
Graham semi-apologised for the band being depressing a couple of times during the set, but the band’s sound is far from downbeat, despite its gloomy, verging on goth, edge. He recalled having played at the same venue before, saying “fuck building folk” in reference to its impending closure.
They closed with The Wrong Car, the lead track off a 2010 ep, with the drummer racing up the stairs leaving the rest of the band on stage and the singer giving effusive, heartfelt thanks to the audience.
Fortunately the band reconvened for the epic And She Would Darken The Memory off the debut album. This was rapturously received, leaving the audience heading off into the night feeling satiated. The singer then seemed not to want to leave the stage long after the rest of the band had scooted off, continuing to enjoy the love he was getting from the partisan crowd.
The Twilight Sad are not a band I’m a huge fan of – in fact, I decided to go see them (late last year) when I really only knew them by name. I subsequently acquired their first and most recent albums, and have been enjoying their somewhat gloomy music. However, they have never risen beyond being ‘pretty good’ in my estimation, so I wasn’t quite sure what the gig would bring. However, suffice to say I certainly enjoyed the evening, without it being in danger of breaking into my Top 5 gigs of the year so far.
For no particularly good reason, I wore my green Sub Pop t-shirt. There were certainly a few other band tees in evidence but I couldn’t manage to identify any of them. This seems to be a trend in the Kaz, one I hope to buck next time out…
Here is most of the set list: