The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad


The Twilight Sad do not have a new album to flog, with Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave coming out back in 2014. Still, they are doing a few dates in the UK because, well they can, and with no new LP in tow it means they can do the kind of career spanning set that fans can only usually dream of. The Twilight Sad (let’s just call them TTS for the sake of my fingers) are the makers of one of my all time favourite albums, the untouchable Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, so I’m pretty excited at the prospect of seeing some if that again as it’s around 6 years since I’ve seen them live when they were touring Forget The Night Ahead; it’s been a long while, and to be honest I haven’t really given them much time recently so I’m slightly anxious about how into it I’ll be.

I needn’t have been apprehensive at all. From the moment they walk on stage to the final minutes, this is an absolute triumph of a gig. It’s so good that it makes a late dash to be included in the best gigs of the year. In those 6 years since I last saw them, something magical has happened to the band, and they’ve turned into an absolute juggernaut of a live act. The band are tight as, not a beat or note missed amongst the glorious noise and dark synths, but make no mistake; this is all about lead singer James Graham. He’s a mesmerising presence on stage, throwing so much wild eyed passion into every song, throwing shapes with his arms and grabbing the mic stand to make some iconic silhouetted poses against the spectacular lights and the dry ice. Ah the lights! Whoever is putting on this light show has done an incredible job, bathing the band in a wash of beautiful colour from start to finish, the highlight being during ‘That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy’ when red and yellow lights combine to make the stage look like it’s in flames as Graham sings ‘the kids are on fire in the bedroom’ – it’s beautiful.

Another highlight is the absolutely ferocious ‘I Became a Prostitute’, Graham stalking the stage as the band churn out a wall of towering guitar noise and pounding drums. ‘Last January’ from NWTBHANWTL is completely brilliant, sounding somewhere between Depeche Mode and The Cure (who TSS will open for next year on their arena tour), building to a climax that threatens to tear the corrugated iron roof off Gorilla. Graham consistently looks amazed that so many people have come tonight, claiming that this is the most people they’ve ever played to in Manchester (that will change come the Cure tour!) and telling us in his thick Scottish accent that the band are so grateful for us coming to see them – the reaction that he gets back tells him that he’s more than welcome. HIs brief stage banter interludes are great, with one coming in reaction to someone in the crowd shouting a request a few times that he can’t get, replying ‘I can’t tell what you’re saying, I’m the one you meant to not fucking understand!’ in that Kilsyth brogue.

Before the bad start Fourteen Autumn’s ‘Cold Days From The Birdhouse’ he wishes us a merry Christmas, asking us ‘have we depressed you enough this festive period?!’ to which the crowd roar back with approval. ‘Birdhouse’ is completely wonderful, starting with a solo Graham against a red back drop before the band join him in one of their finest songs, the crowd chanting along to ‘the red sky at night won’t follow me, it won’t follow me now’ as the shoegaze-y guitars chimes around us. It’s not depressing in the slightest; in fact it’s incredibly uplifting. Because that’s what the band do, take dark subjects and fill them with their glorious noise to make songs that envelope you like a blanket on a freezing cold night. Here’s hoping that their tour with The Cure introduce them to new audience, and the next step they take is heard by as many ears possible – these lads deserve it.

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