“All my loving, I will send to you.” The final line of the encore opener, a solo cover of The Beatles ‘All My Loving’, has the ever poignant lyrics of Lennon/McCartney reflecting the sentiment between Twin Atlantic and the fans perfectly as their set begins to draw to a close.
It was predisposed to be an emotional evening, what with the band making the step up to Southampton’s major league after two previous Joiners jaunts. It’s an opportunity the Scots seem determined to grasp, striding on stage and releasing the opening strains of ‘Time For You To Stand Up’ without offering as much as a murmur to the audience. The early schizophrenic flash photography lighting provides the opening moshes with a stop motion atmosphere; which is both entertaining and nauseating in equal measure.
The notorious battle between band and the Guildhall’s acoustics also plays a fundamental role in tonight’s performance. Tracks from the band’s latest offering ‘Free’ such as ‘Dreamember’ particularly suffer, with its twinkling guitar lines and soaring vocals (on record) becoming rather lost in the mire of noise. The result is of course, that the band often finds they sound flat on stage, a bit like an air balloon after being attacked by some angry bees.
Those in attendance this evening pay little heed to sound troubles however, with vested men continuing to rampage with a merry abandon regardless. It is worth nothing at this point that what I have referred to as rampaging, Sam McTrusty calls “a break dancing competition” when he reprimands those responsible, his grin visible across the venue.
It is during the more off kilter moments in their arsenal, such as the cascading jackhammer to the eardrums that is ‘What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?’ that band and audience appear to be equally content with thrashing around. A fox-suit wearing man is discovered, and is soon conducting impromptu dance moves from the stage from alongside Barry McKenna in an intense display of a stereotypical ‘British sense of fun’. Less fun is the avant-garde ballad take on previous signature single ‘You’re Turning Into John Wayne’, which has many bemused faces awaiting a never occurring riff. After a number of years of performance, the experimentation is understandable, but the tampering of fan favourites brings widespread (yet only momentary) disappointment.
‘Crash Land’ and ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ enter during the encore, and appear comfortable alongside the aforementioned ‘All My Loving’. Mass singalongs ensue, alongside an outbreak of air-celloing, bringing serotonin levels to rates rarely seen. Vocals finally arise to the forefront of the mix, and the reverent passion these tracks carry is transmitted successfully to all within shouting distance.
But of course, a band should always be able to rely on their hit singles. ‘Free’ finally brings the stadium to events in an epic strut, as the bouncing fans swell to include the majority present. ‘Make A Beast Of Myself’, featuring large balloons emblazoned with Twin Atlantic logos, douses events with a panache by introducing amateur basketball slaps as a struggle for a touch occurs. McTrusty dives into the crowd to the sound of screams and it is apparent that this is a band which should have no problems making the step up to stadiums, gimmicks ‘n’ all, if sound systems are on their side.