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AAA Music | 21 March 2019

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Twin Atlantic – 02 Academy Islington

| On 04, Dec 2011

It’s difficult to get any more English than this reporter. He might as well have been born with a top hat on his less than developed head and a union flag tattooed onto his jacksie. So as a rock fan he should be jumping for joy that Twin Atlantic, Glaswegian post-hardcore merchants who must spontaneously burst into screams of apoplexy when they hear the name Biffy Clyro, such is the amount of times the two have been compared, seem to be building up a name for themselves as the visiting American rock bands up and coming band of choice, this reporter having seen them support The Gaslight Anthem and My Chemical Romance (and The Subways, but they’re from Welwyn Garden City. Very un-American) and heard about them supporting Blink 182 on their first slog around the arenas of Scotland and Ireland. However, something is missing for this reporter that stops this reporter just short of proclaiming them great English Rock ‘n’ Roll hopes. If Tuesday night at the Islington Academy (God willing, the only venue in England that’s based in a shopping mall…) was anything to go by, then Twin Atlantic definitely have a live sound of their own, in the sense that they seem to play every single show the Exact. Same. Way. Let me elaborate

Twin Atlantic know they’re good, and so they should, their 2009 mini-album Vivarium is a work of excellence and their debut full length from this year has seen almost unanimous praise from critics, but the live shows I’ve seen from them have all seemed to be similarly hued, bar one, but we’ll get to that in a minute. The last three times I’ve seen them they’ve barely balanced on a tight-rope between relaxed and phoning it in, singer Sam McTrusty providing only slightly less attention to his fringe and slagging off the audience for not going mental enough than to his guitar playing and singing, while still managing to pull it out of the proverbial bag by the end of the set. This is far from unusual from a modern, up and coming rock band, and Twin Atlantic definitely have the songs to make up for it, but the first time I saw them was a far different experience, as they were utterly batshit mental. The novelty of a cellist in a rock band was fresh in my mind as they played the songs that would eventually make up Vivarium, McTrusty, bearded and slightly scrawny, hurled himself around the stage and sung like a man possessed. It’s slightly difficult to look at the band onstage at the Islington Academy and not feel a pang of remorse.

That said, the fanbase that Twin Atlantic have gathered make this a real night to remember, McTrusty’s previous reservations of London crowds that he usually made so known evaporate in the face of roughly 800 citizens of our great capital howling the lyrics to the likes of Yes I Was Drunk and a monumental Time For You To Stand Up. The extremely genuine smiles that adorn the whole bands faces once set closer Free seem to make an oxymoron out of that very songs lyrics, “I fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll / until I found out it was false”. This is a band at crossroads, they could be something very special indeed and seem headed that way, all they’d have to do is realise that a live performance like tonight doesn’t have to rely on an audience as attentive as that, and any gig can become something of a religious experience if the band are willing to put the passion in. With a band as savvy, assured and talented as this, that realisation should come in time.

Author: Will Howard

Photos: Luca Viola