To celebrate the release of their latest album, rock four-piece Twin Atlantic stopped off in Nottingham as part of their record store mini-tour.
Since their formation in 2006, Twin Atlantic have worked their way into the global rock scene – and, with five studio albums now under their belt, they aren’t going anywhere. Having progressed from supporting the likes of Blink-182 and Thirty Seconds To Mars early on in their career to headlining arena tours across the UK and Europe, the announced a string of intimate gigs ahead of their headline tour in March.
I ventured out to Nottingham’s Metronome and, finding myself confronted with a small stage and an audience of around 200, I thought I was in the wrong place. But on they came. No support band – the crowd was already warming up thanks to one particularly enthusiastic, giddy fan with beer in hand. The four guys took their places, three of them dressed in white t-shirts, vocalist Sam McTrusty in a white shirt and navy jacket and trousers – a sweet sort of uniform. It was nice to see Barry McKenna on lead guitar, as it was recently announced that he would no longer be involved with the band off stage.
'The energy and enthusiasm of the band was surprising given that half of them were ill, and the quality of vocals was exceptional'.
McTrusty stepped up to the mic, looked out at the crowd, pale-faced, and said ‘Not gonna lie, I’m really fucking ill y’all’. He was met by compassionate cheers of encouragement from the floor and the band prepared for the first song. McTrusty’s confession of illness had initially lowered my expectations, but they were quickly restored – as Oh! Euphoria! (the opening track of POWER, which had been released only three days prior) began, I could tell we were in for a good set. The energy and enthusiasm of the band was surprising given that half of them were ill, and the quality of vocals was exceptional. The only indications that McTrusty was not on top form were the brief pauses he took between songs to stand at the back of the stage and breathe and his proclamation, after a couple of songs, that he didn’t ‘even know what’s happening right now’.
The band dove from Oh! Euphoria! straight into Novocaine, also from POWER and released as a single ahead of the album. The upbeat chorus had the crowd beginning to jump around and sing along, having had a few weeks to learn the chorus at least. From there I was slightly surprised – pleasantly so – to hear the opening bars of No Sleep, the second track from their 2016 album GLA. No Sleep is arguably one of the most aggressive and confrontational tracks on GLA, and it worked well to increase the energy in the room.
I had wondered what the split would be between new songs and old, and it turned out to be half and half; Volcano and Barcelona were the others from POWER. During the catchy chorus of the former, McTrusty ordered the crowd to get their hands in the air, while for Barcelona I was content to listen to him sing the passionate lyrics. Similar to Novocaine, Barcelona had been released as a single, and looking round the room it was nice to see many people singing along.
Make a Beast of Myself (Free, 2011), Brothers and Sisters and Heart and Soul (both The Great Divide, 2014) were the classics interspersed among the new songs. It was a perfect balance for fans of older material while maintaining an emphasis on the new album. By the time Heart and Soul wrapped up, McTrusty looked to be flagging a little. He apologised for not being able to give it his all, though at no point did it look to me like he wasn’t giving the performance all his energy.
After about forty-five minutes the band left the stage. I’ve never been to a gig so short, but I felt very satisfied. I’d already booked tickets for their March tour, and having had a taste of POWER live I can’t wait to hear some of the other songs during a longer set. If this is the quality of Twin Atlantic when half of them have the flu, I can’t begin to imagine how they might sound at full health.