“Cos there’s nowhere else that you’d rather be…” The third line of Twin Atlantic’s opening song Time For You To Stand Up, is pretty conclusive of how the 1600-strong audience were probably feeling on Tuesday 6th November 2012. An extremely mixed crowd had gathered in the depths of the 02 Academy Bristol, and it was from the third row that the Glasgow musicians shattered my preconceptions and raised my expectations for all live ventures in the future.
The opening act, Dead Sara took unassumingly to the stage before smashing through a hasty showcase of their heaviest tracks. The crowd were caught unaware as this Stateside rock band brought unnecessary enthusiasm that clouded their successful grunge-meets-Kings Of Leon sound. If it wasn’t for the contrived microphone swinging, synchronised head-banging and the lead singer’s odd clambering onto the towering speakers; the Los Angeles musicians might have gained a better response. Speaking of crossed forearms and a reluctance to respond, credit is due to Charlie Simpson for bringing a smile out of every Twin Atlantic fan. Despite a few cries of “Play Year 3000, Charlie”, Simpson proved to the doubters that he has mastered the art of catchy guitar-folk within the first few verses of his opening track. The diverse crowd reacted surprisingly well, singing along to Down, Down, Down and cheering his band as they came to chat at the barrier afterwards.
Tension built palpably as the minutes ticked nearer twenty minutes past nine. “This is Twin Atlantic!” Blasting straight into Time For You To Stand Up, Glasgow’s finest had the crowd bouncing from the first chord; a sign of how things would stay for the remainder of the evening. Far more of a front man than he used to be, McTrusty emphatically leads ‘Atlantic through hit after hit. When he abashedly messes up during one of the earlier numbers he stops to apologise: picking back up with a dogged determination to provide us with a brilliant show. All is immediately forgiven.
Craig Kneale drums with nonchalant ferocity as Twin Atlantic breathe life into album tracks, Dreamember, and The Ghost Of Eddie. The voracious Human After All is mastered by Ross McNae and Barry McKenna as they wander across the stage, clearly enjoying their selves as much as the audience are. The slowed-down You’re Turning Into John Wayne gives Sam a chance to catch his breath, evidently gauging the reaction of the audience. He looks above him, scanning the balcony, and addressing the madness descending on the floor in his quieter speaking voice. “You’re mental down here.” He finally seems to settle in, his army jacket thrown somewhere as he debuts Brothers & Sisters, to a good if slightly calmer reaction. Old favourite What Is Light, Where Is Laughter? and the defiant-yet-catchy Edit Me are resonant, finally bringing a grin to the band’s faces.
The last three songs of the set are incredible. We Want Better Man feels like a protest anthem as McTrusty punches the air and delivers that line “Here is the handle, so get a f****** grip.” McNae, Kneale and McKenna provide the best breakdown ever during the track, which unravels beautifully in the last fifty seconds. A Guidance From Colour is brought out of the woodwork to a raucous response, and the first part of their set ends with the ubiquitous Free.
After the shortest encore known to mankind, Twin are back; evidently as eager to play as we are to listen to them. Sam strums his way through his version of All My Loving before the guys re-join him for an emotional Crashland. Sam shakes his head in awe, stepping away from the microphone. It is easy to see how appreciative he his, evidently astonished as the crowd drown him out, singing every word back to him at a deafening level. For most of the song, Sam vacillates between watching Barry play the cello masterfully and glancing around the room clearly astounded at how far they’ve come. He pauses after the song to describe their journey, gratefully thanking the audience in an emotional soliloquy. The show ended after Yes, I Was Drunk with a riotous Make A Beast Of Myself, cementing Twin Atlantic as the kings of epic choruses.
With their political undertones that condemn our homogenised music industry and the state of society, added to their anti-lacklustre live performances, Twin Atlantic seem to be poised for stratospheric success. However, Sam tweeted afterwards that he “Felt rather emotional after that wee speech tonight. Seeing you all having such a good time. It is exactly as we imagined it. Thank you.” somewhat proving that Twin Atlantic have the corner on sincerity; which may set them apart in equal measures.