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AAA Music | 25 July 2024

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The Xcerts – Live @ Soup Kitchen

| On 24, Dec 2014

Friday 12th December, Manchester

I’d waited to see tonight’s headliner in a live capacity for around four years, and my excitement was brimming as I entered the venue…

First on was a band I had never heard of before, but Kagoule, for all of their shyness on arrival to the stage, didn’t take long to come into their own; they made the relatively thinned out crowd feel like a packed out room with how they put all of their energy into their music. What stuck me most about this band was how much they reminded me of old Biffy Clyro and Reuben, with the odd time signatures and raucous sound, yet all the while retaining some beauty to their sound. Tonight, Kagoule did very well, even if they were quite different to the headliners. Their sound proved a worthy addition to the bill and it was a nice surprise to hear a band harkening back to a style of music that sometimes feels like a bygone era, as well as bringing something fresh with male and female dual vocals, which is an unbeatable combo, as both compliment each other to make for a sound that, even when it sometimes hit you like a curve ball, was still attractive.

Next was a band that I was first introduced to by an old friend about four years ago in our old practice space, back when I had ambitions of my own of performing on stage. Having last month released what I personally would herald as my album of the year, following their previous effort Slackerpop, road warriors The Xcerts have finally arrived back in Manchester, and although the size of the crowd tonight might not represent how truly great they are, they are but the diamond in the rough in this world of mass music.

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Tonight, they proved why they should be heard, opening their set with first track ‘Live Like This’ off their latest album There Is Only You, they kicked things off with a bang. The song itself is an unrelenting piece of music that drives the soaring chorus led by lead vocalist Murray, sending the song off into a new territory for the band of boldness. The Xcerts’ full catalogue is represented by old favourites, such as ‘I See Things Differently’ and ‘Do You Feel Safe’, to more recent hits with the slow and brooding, but yet ever so catchy ‘Young (Belane)’, which Murray does an interesting solo rendition of.

Each song is unique in the vocal delivery, but its accompaniment of its subject matter really leaves its mark on this fan. The haunting ‘He Sinks, He Sleeps’, which is almost like a lullaby that gets stuck in your head, to the anthemic ‘Aberdeen 1987’, that is performed as an impromptu, unplugged acoustic version, with Murray stood in the middle of the stage professing to the crowd his days as a youth in his hometown. Witnessing the crowd singing back every word is euphoric and this is a show that I will never forget.

Joe Sheridan