Twin Atlantic at The Waterfront - Review
Entering the packed ground floor of the Waterfront reminded me of why some of the small, intimate gigs I have seen here have remained salient in my memory; the sticky floor and low ceiling crowded with vents and pipes contributes to the underground, grungy atmosphere of this venue. Strangely, this may not appear fitting for Twin Atlantic, a band that has experienced national recognition and success, especially with their third album ‘Great Divide’ released in 2015 which includes the high charting singles ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and ‘Heart and Soul’. However, this short tour, encompassing only ten shows, attracted an audience of dedicated fans creating a joyous, almost reminiscent atmosphere and appreciation of their iconic, alternative rock sound.
Following two rather forgettable performances by the support acts Pale White and Bellevue Days, lead vocalist and guitarist Sam McTrusty led an intense, emphatic invasion on the audience, immediately creating a wave of pints and hands rising up in solidarity. The soulful performance of ‘Whispers’ from their latest album ‘GLA’, a track with a rather existential theme, was rapturing. Again, frontman Sam carried the energy as he sang out to the audience, furiously encouraging for a response. However, despite choosing an array of songs from all four of their albums, ‘No Sleep’ again from their 2016 ‘GLA’ album, stole the show. As any good rock vocalist should do, Sam threw himself into the audience, letting himself be carried in the music and by the audience. Despite the expressive performance, his vocals remained precise, hitting the notes with a gutsy, emotive feel.
Following such a thumping performance, the crowd hushed as, following yet another guitar change (this time an acoustic), Sam beautifully solo performed a cover of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘My Backwards Walk’ to a captivated audience in memory of their recently deceased lead vocalist, Scott Hutchison. With a sombre feel to the middle of this set, the band re-joined to perform a personal favourite, ‘Crash Land’. Impressed not only by Barry McKenna swapping his guitar for a cello, but also by the contrary softness of the performance, with their strong Scottish accents, an iconic element of the band’s make-up, a perfect accompaniment to the sound of the raw strings. Despite the previous hard-hitting, guitar-heavy tracks creating an emphatic energy throughout the audience, I felt that this performance really was the highlight.
Quickly looking to regain the momentum, the quartet performed ‘Brothers and Sisters’. Despite being one of their most recognisable songs due to its huge success in the UK charts, the audience’s raucous singing could not be heard above the rhythmic thud of drummer, Craig Kneale. Repeatedly, but especially as the gig drew to a close, Sam thanked the audience for their dedication over the years, with which he was warmly greeted with loud applause. However, remaining faithful to the success it has created for them, they closed with a slightly extended version of ‘Heart and Soul’. The thunderous performance oozed enthusiasm both on and off the stage, with the band, as they had continuously throughout the gig, quietly grinning as they manipulated their instruments to a clearly perfected, harmonious close.
It is easy to forget that Twin Atlantic have been on the music scene for almost two decades; they have managed to remain youthful in their music and continue to attract a young demographic through their hypnotic, head-nodding drumming and excitable riffs. But you can never forget, as proudly said in the final moments by Sam McTrusty, they are from Glasgow, Scotland.