By Fraser Bryce; photos by Cameron Brisbane
There’s a lot to be said about a band that can write great songs. You can faff about with gimmicks, tricks and image all you want, in the end all that matters is how good the tunes are. Glasgow’s own Twin Atlantic are testament to the fact that nothing more than brilliant songs can propel a band to the highest of heights. And tonight, they have chosen to celebrate their latest batch of world beating tunes from the feral ‘GLA’ album with an intimate set at HMV on Argyle Street.
Now, upon entering the venue/shop, I pondered a few things. Firstly, how a band as truly brilliant as Twin Atlantic cannot fully sell out a shop floor is beyond me; and secondly, surely the band are planning a standard acoustic set, and thirdly, the rumbling beneath my feet is the passing subway. Upon realising that the subway does not pass by Argyle Street, I realised my eardrums were in for a kicking.
When I was ushered downstairs to the gig – bit harsh putting the 6’ 2” person in the front row – the band swiftly took to the stage with a livewire version of the ferocious ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’, and the first thing that hit me was the volume. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the volume. If you’re reading this at the Fresher’s Fair, come find me at the Fusion stall and I can guarantee my ears will not have recovered. The second thing that hits me is how incredible Twin Atlantic sound in a raw setting. Free of studio trickery and big budget production, the band rely on the strength of their songs to carry them through this short but sweet set. And when your songs are as good as Twin Atlantic’s, resting a set on your songs is simple. The dirty groove of ‘You Are The Devil’ transitions into the sweeping, atmospheric ‘Ex El’, before the T. Rex worshipping ‘The Chaser’ and the riff-laden ‘No Sleep’ bring the set to a close. Every aspect of the songs is perfect in every way, and the charismatic showmanship of frontman Sam McTrusty proves an adequate defence about the inherent awkwardness of such close quarter shows. Seriously, during the opening song, he removed the barrier and moved my row closer to the stage and honestly, the only word I can use to describe how close I was is “uncomfortably”. McTrusty also recognises the two fans next to me, and claims to recognise me as well. Based on the “no” that I replied with, he claimed that I was there to arrest him. I’ve been to some intimate shows, but this takes the proverbial biscuit.
While Twin Atlantic’s set is short, it hammers home the fact that they are a band built purely on perfectly written hard rock songs, and, while the more stripped back approach on ‘GLA’ may drive some fans away, the hard-hitting edge to the music perfectly complements their live shows. The band have lined up three shows at the legendary Barrowlands towards the end of the year and, honestly, you’d have to be mad to miss them. Hopefully Sam won’t call me a “bailiff” the next time though.