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Gig Review: The Twilight Sad @ The Night & Day Café, Manchester, 24th March 2008

The Twilight Sad @ The Night & Day CafeAfter the sparsely populated gig at The Phoenix back in September, it was great to see that there was an excellent turnout on what was a quiet, chilly, Easter Monday in Manchester. Openers Laymar did a fine job in warming up the crowd with their all-encompassing post-rock, though JustHipper was rolling her eyes at the sound of the dialogue from a radio transmission during the first song – a feature of the set that she had predicted beforehand. She’s not a fan of the genre but she knows how these things work. Nothing that could be labeled as “post-rock” has set my heart racing in the last few years and, though I love a bit of Mogwai, Godspeed and Labradford, I rarely find myself listening to them these days. Laymar managed to rekindle some of my interest and, despite some initial scepticism, I ended up really enjoying their set, especially the epic, resonating guitars of the lengthy closing number.

The first thing that struck me about The Twilight Sad as they launched into the opening “walking for two hours” was the uncanny resemblance frontman James Graham has to Ian Curtis. Not just his looks, but the way he holds the mic and the unflinching intensity of his performance. This had obviously occurred to other members of the audience as ironic shouts for “She’s Lost Control” and “Transmission” were bandied about at the end of the song. “Yeah, I know what you mean” admitted the singer. Instead they played “that summer, at home I had become the invisible boy”, a classic in its own right, which saw Graham snarling his vocals in the general direction of his guitarist, who was producing waves and waves of beautiful noise from his instrument. It was a thrilling opening salvo, and the band didn’t let up. At The Phoenix, Graham had spent the entire gig facing in any direction but towards the audience. Here, there were a few tentative glances in the first couple of songs but he soon gained the confidence to confront the audience straight on and even became quite chatty between songs, apologising for their “shite” performance at that earlier gig and reminiscing about being in the Night & Day on a previous trip to Manchester to see Morrissey at the Arena.

The wall of noise the band create live is pretty remarkable given that their are only four of them, though I did spot a laptop lurking towards the back of the stage, and their were definitely some sounds in there that weren’t being generated by any of the band members. A couple of new songs were played and sounded very good indeed but it was the closing duo of “i’m taking the train home” and “cold days from the birdhouse” that really impressed, the fierce a capella opening of the latter bringing the hairs on the back of my neck to attention. It was a fairly short set, and there was no encore, but I doubt that many people there left unsatisfied. There has been talk of a mini album release in the summer, comprising new tracks and re-recordings of some Fourteen Autumns… tracks, so it looks like the release of a new full blown long player is a long way off, which is a shame as with a full complement of new material at hand, the Twilight Sad live experience is likely to get even better.

The Twilight Sad – i’m taking the train home

The Twilight Sad – cold days from the birdhouse

Posted by The Ledge on 27th March 2008 at 10:31 pm | comments (10)
File under Gig Reviews,mp3,Reviews,twilight sad.