“You’ll have to forgive me guys”, Twin Atlantic frontman Sam McTrusty said with a hearty whimper, “I’m ill as f*ck tonight!”; he was lying, the following hour of unrelenting rock and a throttled microphone was not telling of a rockstar rife with the sniffles.
If you love Twin Atlantic and live in Nottingham then I do pity you. It’s likely that you missed a blitzing display of raw and anthemic alt-rock from one of the few indie outfits that escape the narrow jaws of generic derivation. Fighting hard against the perils of the flu, McTrusty and co. mounted the intimate corners of Metronome’s close-knit grandstand and hurled the audience through what was ultimately a very well-received love letter to fans in commemoration of their latest full-length release; Power.
As rapid as the setlist was, fans had no trouble keeping hot-footed. Through jams like No Sleep and brand new arena-champion Barcelona, it wasn’t at all uncommon for McTrusty’s own mic to be overwhelmed by the tide of Metronome’s choir service and at the half-way point, we’d almost blown him to the floor. He retreats, shirt ruffled and collar loosened, and returns with a bottle of water: “This is probably the most rock ‘n’ roll moment of my life”, he says with a grin, “I’m raising a glass bottle of water while wearing travel bands to stop the nausea”; which of course prompted a wholesome batch of medicinal messages.
Let us, of course, not forget the cake beneath the icing; the show itself was phenomenal. Atlantic appear with a humbling visage but there’s nothing amateurish about what they do when those strings start moving. Backlit by a chromatic display, mirroring that of their new album cover’s own palette, there’s very little to separates the rich Glaswegian phrasing, timeless fuzz of Gibson electrics and clatter of Craig Kneale’s well-orchestrated battery from the studio magic on our phones; apart from sweat perhaps.
Surprise, surprise, the band’s departure from their established indie sound to a retro arena-rock form holds up nicely on the loudspeakers. Sure, the crowds may have screamed a little louder for old friends like Heart and Soul and Beast of Myself but the thumping basslines and rising choruses on newbies like Volcano and Novocaine will inevitably have their own cult followers in due time.
It was a night of simple pleasures. Great people, great music, and Sam made it through the whole gig without collapsing; can you ask for more? Get well soon though Sam and go easy on the bottled water; don’t want to make yourself more ill, eh?
Words and photos by Alex Mace