Tag Archive: Twin Atlantic

Twin Atlantic + Dinosaur Pile-Up + Arcane Roots @ O2 Academy 2 Birmingham, Friday 2nd December 2011

It’s a Friday gig at the 02 Academy 2 Birmingham, so it’s an unusually early start to see a bunch of new rock kids on the block. Back after a pretty successful few months, to round of their year, it’s time to bounce along with Twin Atlantic.

First up, Arcane Roots from Kingston, a three piece who play an eclectic mix of vocal melodic rock (think Kings of Leon), screamy grunge plus full on jammin’, man – they are an intriguing mess of genres – difficult to pinpoint. Be interesting to see how these guys develop – and even though it is early (they’re on at stupidly early time of 6.45pm) the venue is near half full, and they go down well.

Next up the cheekily named Dinosaur Pile-Up from Leeds. Allegedly their name came from a scene in the original King Kong where a load of dinosaurs fall down a mountain and end up in a pile – so funny lead singer / guitarist Matt Bigland thought it would be a great name for the band.  Musically, they are clearly inspired by Nirvana and have a great bass rhythmical beat going on.  The drum kit takes up most of the tiny stage, how they find the space to move beats me. As the crowd begins to fill the venue, they too, go down well, and get the crowd clapping along. Another young band of talented individuals who will also be interesting watch where their musical journey takes them.

So bang on 8.30pm, on to a blue-lit moody set, come Twin Atlantic, to a huge scream from the crowd. I saw them at the Academy 3 earlier in this year, playing to a maximum of couple of hundred fans; tonight they’re playing the Academy 2, capable of holding up to 600 fans,  and this gig is pretty much sold out.

Formed in ’07, Glaswegians Sam McTrusty (vocals and guitar) Barry McKenna (guitar), Ross McNae (bass) & Craig Kneel (drums) are Twin Atlantic. Noticed after the release of their mini-album ‘Vivarium’ in 2009, they have toured internationally with the likes of Biffy Clyro, Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, Blink 182 amongst others. They’re finishing off their year of promotion for their first full album ‘Free’ with their largest UK tour so far.

McTrusty appears on the tiny stage with his band mates, and punches the air, like a returning hero; they’re straight into ‘Serious Underground Dances Vibes’, followed by new single ‘Make A Beast of Myself’ – the crowd bounce and sing-a-long – these guys are obviously up for the gig. “Thank you Birmingham… glad to be back…”

The audience is well into the band, bouncing exuberantly and energetically throughout the gig. McTrusty’s stagecraft continues to get better and better  – he’s chatty and keen to get the audience fully involved, encouraging them to clap and bounce, and inviting everyone to “party.” The crowd knows all the words; for  ‘We Want Better, Man’ “Get a fucking grip….” rings out around the room. McTrusty at one point stands on the barrier that holds the crowd back, arms in the air and then leaps into the crowd, guitar in hand, for a bit of crowd surfing. ‘Crashland’ is an acoustic affair, ALL the crowd singing all the words, couple of people sitting on their mates shoulders (to the concern of the bouncers who shine a warning light on them), audience group hugs do the rounds, and McTrusty looks suitably impressed by the everyone’s efforts.

The encore gives us ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ – “Thank you Birmingham we’ve got two songs left…” then a riff, and bang, we’re into ‘Time For You to Stand Up’ followed by title track ‘Free.’

According to lead signer McTrusty, “Music’s been dumbed down and homogenised. There are lots of people who don’t believe in it anymore. But we’ve made a record with substance – we’re giving people something to believe in again.” Tonight’s crowd certainly believe.

When I saw Twin Atlantic earlier in the year, I thought they gave a good gig, but wondered how far they were away from sounding like the bands that inspired them. After a summer of gigging, Leeds and Reading festival appearances and a US tour, this has clearly done them the world of good – they are coming into their own, making their songs far more ‘Twin Atlantic’ rather than sound-a-like. They are energetic, the crowd responds in full flow, the set far more professional than their young years. This year’s school report has to be “Great year boys, progressing nicely” – Twin Atlantic are carving out success the hard way, gigging tirelessly. Will they be able to rise to the next level? They’re clearly building an exuberant and loyal fan base, and tracks are getting breaks on UK and US radio airtime. The real big break could come with the next album – a standout track, showcasing their great live performances and, what you need in the modern music industry, a lot of luck and that chance break. Once again, a good night was had by all. All in all good end to 2011 for Twin Atlantic – just what will 2012 bring?

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Setlist:

  1. Serious Underground Dances Vibes
  2. Make A Beast of Myself
  3. The Ghost of Eddie
  4. Eight Days
  5. What is Light? Where is Laughter?
  6. Wonder Sleeps Here
  7. Apocalyptic Renegade
  8. Edit Me
  9. Caribbean War Syndrome
  10. We Want Better, Man
  11. Lightspeed
  12. Human After All
  13. Where is My Mind
  14. Crash Land
  15. Audience and Audio
  16. You’re Turning into John Wayne

Encore:

  1. Yes, I Was Drunk
  2. Time For You to Stand Up
  3.  Free

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Listening:

Free (2011)

Vivarium (Debut mini-album) (2009)

 

Twin Atlantic + Fighting with Wire + Spy Catcher at the O2 Academy3 – 10th May 2011

This review was undertaken for Birmingham Live!

For photos of the bands from tonight’s gig go to Ken Harrison Photography.

Tonight it’s to the teeny Academy3 to see three potential new upstarts of the indie rock scene, Twin Atlantic supported by Fighting with Wire and Spy Catcher. To a young crowd, and the odd parent, in a VERY warm cosy room.

Formed in 2007, in Glasgow, Sam McTrusty on vocals, Barry McKenna (Guitar), Ross McNae (Bass) & Craig Kneel (Drums) are Twin Atlantic. Noticed after the release of their mini-album ‘Vivarium’ in 2009, they have toured internationally with the likes of Biffy Clyro, Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, Blink 182 amongst others.

So tonight, at The Academy3, they are here to promote their first full album ‘Free’ released 2nd May 2011 – which they hope will take them stratospheric. According to lead signer McTrusty,  “Music’s been dumbed down and homogenised. There are lots of people who don’t believe in it anymore. But we’ve made a record with substance – we’re giving people something to believe in again.”  So let’s see…..

First support at 7.30 pm comes from Watford  – four piece Spy Catcher. ‘Music That My Dad Likes’ received Radio 1 unsigned band of the week, and featured in Kerrang’s Ten Songs You Should Hear Now. The ickle venue is half full, but that doesn’t stop lead singer, Steve Sears, akin in flat cap, like most his band mates, giving it some vocal wellie. They’re still pretty raw with rock rhythm sounds. ‘Nobody Listens’ is a harder, three minute rock song, while ‘Remember Where You Were When Michael Jackson Died’ (about to be released as a free download) is for“anyone who gives a fuck about rock music.” They do a good job of getting the crowd going.

Second up, Fighting with Wire, another band who’ve been touring the same scene as Twin Atlantic and are clearly inspired by the likes of Biffy Clyro and Blink 182. Apparently they’re currently in production with their next album after the 2007 album ‘Man vs Monster.’ The Derry band is more commercial and less full on rock than the previous act, the lead singer speaks with a deep Irish accent but vocally, sings a lot lighter. “Tonight we’re playing new songs.” Man in audience screams. “All I have to do is remember the words.” They go down well with the crowd – better than the previous time they played when they joke there was one fan – and now there’s three!

And now to the main act – Twin Atlantic. With multicolored spot lights and dry ice they open up to screams from the audience to play ‘Free’ a track from the new album, with a commercial and melodic rising tune. The crowd are clearly enjoying it, bouncing along to ‘The Ghost of Eddie.’ They’re slick – they deserve a larger gig than a couple of hundred kids. Indie sounding, American punk – again a cross between Blink 182 and Biffy.

The crowd know the tracks and have clearly acquired the new album, sing and bounce along. McTrusty: “This is fucking amazing – we played to 60 last time we were here.” Well tonight boys, you’ve at least doubled that figure. And they continue their way through the setlist ‘til ‘What is Light? Where is Laughter?’ when everyone sings along, watched by the support Act – still wearing their flat caps, skulking around at the back of the venue.

“Thankyou – if this is the first time you’ve seen us – welcome to the family!”Followed by McTrusty participating in a bit of crowd surfing, during ‘You’re Turning Into John Wayne’.  An hours set, no encore and they’re off – with a crowd who have clearly enjoyed the night.

So, are these acts the next best thing? All are pretty good live and are intent on giving it some. And full respect for wanting to rock the place out and bring indie rock music live to their fans. Spy Catcher for me, stood out – a little harder rock, prepared to be different. The other two acts were good and, maybe, they are far enough in time away from the original fans who followed the likes of Biffy Clyro, to attract the next group of kids getting into the music scene. For me they’re a little too similar, I wanted them to move away to being something a little more. But in saying that, a good night was had by all. A snipping of loud rock music. Just what the doctor ordered.

*****

Setlist – Twin Atlantic:
Free
Edit Me
The Ghost of Eddie
Lightspeed
Caribbean War Syndrome
Eight Days
Human After All
Yes, I Was Drunk
Time For You to Stand Up
We Want Better, Man
Old Grey Face (and the Way of the Magenta)
Audience and Audio
Crash Land
What is Light? Where is Laughter?
You’re Turning into John Wayne

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Listening – Twin Atlantic:
Free (2011)
Vivarium (Debut mini-album) (2009)

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Links:
Spy Catcher
Fighting With Wire
Twin Atlantic