Live Review: The Twilight Sad

ABC – 19/12

With The Skinny and Drowned in Sound both declaring Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave their album of the year, as well as a chorus of fans declaring it a return to form after the relative disappointment of 2012’s No One Can Ever Know, it’s shaping up to be a good Christmas for Kilsyth rockers The Twilight Sad.

To James Graham, Andy MacFarlane and Mark Devine, this show represents the culmination of a period of upheaval that has seen them roll back the clinical synthesizers that marked their previous record in favour of something more emotive. And in the form of Graham, they have a frontman who makes you believe that he believes every word.

Opening with ‘There’s a Girl in the Corner’ from the latest record, MacFarlane’s guitar explodes in seconds from the tick-tock post-punk riff into a swirling wall of noise reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine. The group’s clever use of dynamics fits perfectly with the stark, monochrome lighting; walls of abrasive noise and blinding strobe lights that are almost too loud and bright for comfort through which Graham’s voice comes crooning.

The Twilight Sad have always dealt in loneliness but tonight it becomes something beautiful, even with their new songs eliciting a rush of blood. Though Graham is the first to admit that his banter is “pish,” none of that matters because onstage he’s a force of nature, particularly on a stunning final trio of ‘Cold Days From the Birdhouse’, ‘The Wrong Car’ and the explosive ‘And She Would Darken the Memory’. At the end of the latter, he falls to the floors, beats the stage and rises triumphant with his fist in the air. There’s no encore, the Twilight Sad don’t need it.

[Max Sefton – @maxsefton]

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