Accents, this show was all about accents. From Southern England to Australian to Glaswegian, every band had one, every band flaunted theirs.
I headed to the Manchester Ritz to check out and enticing bill and see what the bands had to say for themselves (what I could understand, anyway...)
The Aussie twang opening the show belonged to [ME], a band that sounds like fun. had kids with Muse’s more sensible moments, bought them skinny jeans and taught them to write wonderfully quirky pop-rock.
Unfortunately for the band, the kids here for the high-octane thrills of the other two acts weren’t too interested, which made for a plodding, slightly forced set.
While their music didn’t exactly click with the crowd, the band showed flashes of showmanship on tracks like “Westward Backwards” that will serve them well on more suitable bills in front of more suitable crowds.
More accent-based fun came in the form of the south of England’s Lower Than Atlantis; a band that have done things the right way. These gentlemen have travelled from humble beginnings through to the forefront of UK rock through hard work, good humour and top notch songwriting, so it’s great to see them completely dominate a venue of this size.
Despite the majority of their set being plagued by muddy sound, the band pulled through with an infectious energy and belting tracks like “Deadliest Catch”.
An accomplished medley of Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” and “The Pretender” was a clear high point, as was the bombastic “Beech Like The Tree”. With the help of the old “sit down then jump up when the next song kicks in” trick, the crowd were left foaming at the mouth before the headliners even set foot on the stage.
When Twin Atlantic did set foot on the stage, it took a while for them to get going; first track “Yes, I Was Drunk” was a remarkably subdued affair. Not to matter though; the assembled masses promptly went several shades of batshit crazy as the driving intro to “Time For You To Stand Up” dropped.
This was a trend that continued throughout the night for material old and new, including a wonderful blitz through “Human After All” and euphoric call to arms “We Want Better Man”.
It’s been a treat to chart the rise and rise of Twin Atlantic of late. Just four months ago they played down the road at a venue with a capacity of around 350. Tonight’s venue held over triple that.
Vocalist Sam McTrusty’s searing, Glaswegian delivery is undoubtedly the best it’s ever been and he was more than backed up by a band in their prime: juggling keys and a cello on top of their normal duties.
Acoustic, cello-led renditions of “You’re Turning Into John Wayne” and “Crash Land” in particular were stunning and showcased a poignant, ethereal side to a rapidly maturing band.
Even as the last triumphant notes of “Free” rang around the room there was a feeling that this band haven’t even reached their prime yet. If tonight was anything to go by, these guys might just be an album away from arenas.