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A review of...

The Twilight Sad live at Cargo, London

The Twilight Sad
Date: 
February 14, 2012
Venue:
City:
Writer: 
Adam Taylor

The Twilight Sad’s latest album No One Can Ever Know marked a significant sonic departure for the band - gone was the noise and in came a more desolate feel with more open spaces. It left you to wonder how it would impact on their attempts to put this new thinking across live, without detracting from what to this point has made them such a visceral and shockingly exciting live proposition. It’s clear that in making the new album, Andy MacFarlane had for the most part left his guitar at home, it’s presence here being far more subtle than on previous releases. Taking that away from the stage would be to dramatically hinder the whole quiet-loud dynamic which has given them their strength, and thankfully the band have decided that it needs to stay. Unsurprisingly, on the back of being toured for several years now, the old songs are supplied with the confidence of the routine, yet still wring with emotion and are simply brilliant for it, “I became a prostitute”, “Cold days from the birdhouse” and “And she would darken the memory” all assuredly standing-out and prompting the strongest in crowd participation and acknowledgment. Of the new material, “Alphabet”, “Sick” and “Nil” come across well as hybrid reimaginings with more guitar –squall added to the mix, taking them to oft fully-exerted, nigh-on transcendental highs. The bands’ live strength has always come from a muscular physicality which marries James Graham’s biting and writhing vocal delivery with a power to build wave upon wave of uncompromising noise layered over a well driven rhythm section and, the belief in keeping this sound alive, when done well, really benefits the new songs, though occasionally things are a little muddied by it with both lyrics and subtlety lost to over-forcefulness. Setlist: 1.Kill It In The Morning 2.Don't Move 3.That Summer, at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy 4.Dead City 5.Reflection of the Television 6.Alphabet 7.I Became a Prostitute 8.Sick 9.Another Bed 10.Cold Days From the Birdhouse 11.Nil 12.And She Would Darken the Memory 13.At the Burnside