THE TWILIGHT SAD | MICHAEL TIMMONS | FISKUR | 02.03.2019 | Glasgow Barrowland | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE TWILIGHT SAD | MICHAEL TIMMONS | FISKUR | 02.03.2019 | Glasgow Barrowland | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Twilight Sad | Michael Timmons | Fiskur – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

The Twilight Sad – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

I think I’ll have to make this the last time I review The Twilgiht Sad. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to objectively review the band since I am ridiculously biased! Have they become an unreviewable juggernaut? This Barrowland gig seems like it’s been a long time coming. When they played here back in December 2015 that became one of the greatest gig experiences I’ve ever had. They’re back a few years later to another sold-out audience.

Fiskur – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

Fiskur open the proceedings with a warm and light set before the impending doom and gloom of the headliners. Glasgow based project featuring a few familiar faces; Ross Clark, Andy Monaghan (Frightened Rabbit) and Christopher McGarry (Three Blind Wolves). There’s quite a good turn out early on to catch their splendid set.

Michael Timmons – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

Michael Timmons follows as main support and he’s gathered quite a few fans among the diehard TTS followers, myself included! Having caught his set with them at Leeds Brudenell last summer. He’s since gone on to support the band across Europe. He treats a very courteous and attentive audience to a selection of songs from his debut Bone Coloured. The song ‘Material’ proves a highlight of his short set, that one gets me every time, just beautiful. He ends the set with an incredible barrage of cathedral reverb with a sound that cuts right into your soul. Quite an impressive achievement for a solo act. A great reminder that I really need to dig into my pocket and get a copy of that record!

The Twilight Sad – 2nd March 2019 – Glasgow Barrowland

I won’t say too much about the headliners. If you were there you’ll know how good it was. I drove six hours through rain storms and battled a few inner demons to be here (a huge thank you to the lovely people that talked me into going x). Worth every inch of effort. This marks my tenth time seeing them and remarkably this show has increased my admiration for the band. I walked away from the show with a feeling of euphoria and gratitude. I’m grateful I’m alive and able to witness a show like this. Perhaps that is the way I should view the experience? Rather than describing songs or light shows, perhaps it really is the feelings that matter. Throughout the epics highs and epic lows of my life, The Twilight Sad have been a firm part of my soundtrack for the last 8 years and they are simply one of the greatest live bands of our generation. That euphoria is magic and might explain my unwavering love for the music.

The new material is absolutely stunning in a live setting. They’ve grown to become one of Scotland’s most beloved bands and made a very welcome return with new album It Won/t Be Like This All The Time on Rock Action Records earlier in 2019. I/m Not Here gets the biggest crowd reaction of the new songs, with fans out singing James with sheer volume and enthusiasm. That brought a huge smile to my face.

The setlist is a dream come true, with lots of favourites in there but predominantly features the strong new material. There are two distinct highlights of the set. There is nothing that will send shivers down your spine quite like hundreds of people signing (in a Scottish accent too 🙂 ) Cold Days from the Birdhouse. It is, of course, Keep Yourself Warm that brings the biggest reaction. No tears for me this time, just pure love for a great song performed flawlessly.

I’m hoping for more UK shows later in the year, who knows maybe another Barrowland show? Now that would be amazing. Such is the love for TSS in Glasgow I’m confident they could have sold out a few nights in a row. I’ll settle for this one perfect night though. Here’s to my next ten TTS gigs!

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THE TWILIGHT SAD | It Won/t Be Like This All The Time | ALBUM REVIEW

THE TWILIGHT SAD | It Won/t Be Like This All The Time | ALBUM REVIEW

The Twilight Sad | It Won/t Be Like This All The Time | Album reaction

Review and photos by: Graeme J. Baty

 

‘It Won/t Be Like This All The Time’ has been a long time coming and marks The Twilight Sad’s first album since 2014. That’s quite a remarkable thought, how time flies?! That album became an instant classic, they set themselves a high benchmark. Although it’s taken a long time to release a follow-up, they’ve certainly not been slacking, endless touring and notable side projects have kept them busy. They’ve emerged as one of Scotland’s most revered and respected bands. It’s been a pleasure to watch them rise in recent years. 2019 sees them make another gigantic step towards the big time.

Their fifth album brings some changes; new personnel, record label and a maturing of their sound. It Won/t Be Like This All The Time is a fearless leap into the unknown, yet it retains the key characteristics that we love. Much like labelmates Mogwai, TTS seem unable to release a duff record, constantly innovating and ensuring their lasting legacy as one of Scotland’s best bands.

The big question is… does it live up to their previous efforts?

Today I picked up my very own indies only blue edition from the canny folk at Reflex in Newcastle. I’ve tried to resist the temptation to obtain review copies and or to listen to the streamed songs before the release. It’s been a long long time since I’ve been excited about a record and I wanted to make a bit of effort for it.

Although I’ve been lucky enough to have heard some of the songs live. Here I go for the first proper play and I’ll give my reaction track by track! This won’t be a very insightful deep probe into the record, just an honest reaction to the songs as I play them.

Side A

[10 Good Reasons For Modern Drugs]

This is weird, slow and droney, the vocals start. Wait a minute! It’s 45 RPM, wow! I pick up the needle and hit the 45rpm toggle. Instantly impressed, as they kickoff the record with graceful but rousing song. A Krautrock loop sounds delightful as James sings “We’re hanging on by a thread”, I’m on the edge of my seat taking this in. It ends on “Why can’t you remember me?” as feedback bubbles underneath and I’m pretty stunned. This is classic Twilight Sad and an incredible opener.

The 45 RPM speed is a nice touch! Hard to compare it to a 33 1/3 record, as I don’t have one! However, the sound quality on the pressing is immaculate, so I can assume it’s a positive.

Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting

What a title! This one I distinctly remember from the Brudenell show. The bassline grabs you, a real Docherty stomper, leaving me with a sore neck! The record version doesn’t disappoint, surely an album highlight. Vocally it conjures very violent imagery. I need to come back to this song and play it some more.

The Arbor

The third song; The Arbor channels eighties guitar arpeggios with a sickly sweet chorus effect. I remember this was another Brudenell highlight. Sorry, I can sense this playback bringing recalling many fond memories, it was my favourite gig of 2018 after all! Back to the music, this is probably the softest tone to a TTS song to date. Touring relentlessly with The Cure would influence any band and the characteristics have made their way into the soul of the new material by way of osmosis. Although they’ve always been fans of The Cure, perhaps now it’s more noticeable. The synths take centre stage, mixed higher and more prominent on the record, more so than even on NOCEK, albeit with a less gothic/industrial twist and a more unapologetic 80s sound. This record is Brendan Smith’s time to shine.

Side B

VTr

Instantly recognisable! Easily a setlist highlight from the gigs I’ve seen in 2018. The track finds them knocking up the power with some absolutely incredible percussion. Bringing a level of speed (note: that’s speed coupled with precision) that was not present on previous records. The precision and velocity driving the track. Gone are the slow and steady beats. The percussion really shines on the record so far.

“There’s no Love Too Small” VTr is an anthemic stadium-filling masterpiece and I bloody love it!

Sunday Day13

This is the first real breather on the album. A slow number, more traditional TTS type ‘death ballad’ for want of a better term. It brings disc 1 to a close, it wouldn’t feel out of place on Forget The Night Ahead. I really like this one.

Side C

I/m Not Here [missing face]

The smash hit I’m Not Here. Damn, I played this on loop when it came out. Goosebumps still come over me in a wave when I heard the drone of the guitar during the opening. Another broken relationship singalong anthem.  James sings quite openly, I can’t help but wonder who this song is about, but I also like the fact that it can be translated to your own experiences, so maybe I’m happy not knowing. Another classic.

Auge/Maschine

This is not letting up, here comes another stormer. Andy’s guitar riff is a thing of pure beauty, great tone! It takes the song to the next level.

This one will need a few more plays just for sheer indulgence, but I’ll continue and come back to this! Ending on Andy’s trademark feedback, the hairs on my neck stand up. Definitely a song for us guitar nerds.

Keep It All To Me

The third side is coming to a close and the album seems to be settling into a groove with a bitter synth led track.

Side D

Girl Chewing Gum

Yes! Andy is back! Andy’s guitar playing was the key thing I remember from the first time I saw TTS, this is a flashback to those face melting Marshall stack bludgeons.

“Put me in the ground!” James cries. I think I have a new favourite TTS song!

Let/s Get Lost

Ooooh an 80s power ballad? I’m not sure where this one is going judging by the opening bars. By the time James comes in for the verse and power ballad expectations are dispelled “I’m losing, losing you every day”. As the song finds its feet and power.

Again the percussion is incredible, it’s definitely a drummers record.

Videograms

This is the one song I wasn’t sure about when I first heard it, going against popular opinion. Reception has been really warm. I recall people singing along to it word for word at the Leeds Academy gig with Mogwai. I’m still not 100% sold on it, sorry! It does, however, make much more sense (soundwise) in context to the record. It was perhaps a bit too The Cure by numbers for me. I’m not the biggest Cure fan in all honesty, my tastes tend to lean towards heavier sounds. There’s a lack of the ‘wall of sound’ guitar noise that I adore so much (although there is a taster of it low in the mix and at the end), so I think that’s where my prejudice comes in. The thing is, I refuse to judge TTS albums or songs on one listen, they just don’t work like that. So I left this one on the back burner and I am now I’m warming to it. I think the main reason I adore TTS is the songs and the dense layers. There’s so much going on, you have to comeback for repeated listens. They reward the patient listener, the more you listen the more you love the music.

Summary

Eleven songs in 47 minutes, over four sides, it’s over a bit too fast after such a long wait, but I’ll be going back for a second helping in a bit. It’s a rich album of diverse sounds and perfectly compliments their incredible back catalogue, as always they are fearless when it comes to pushing their sound and I think it’s paid off. There are songs on here to keep everyone happy.

I must comment on the impressive package, I’m actually now debating buying the normal black vinyl edition to compliment it. This indies only version features a lovely pale blue colour swap to the pink/red colour tone of the standard version. A nice touch! Double gatefold with some heavy uppercase typeset lyric sheets on the inner cover, perfect for dissecting James Graham’s fascinating lyrics. This is is what to expect when you sign to Rock Action, they make immaculate releases, crafted for the music lover and collector. They’ve done a sterling job on this!

This record must have some of the most accessible and instantly impressive songs in their history. That’s not to say they aren’t as densely layered or are easier on the ears, just through hard work and relentless touring TTS are at their unequivocal finest, they’ve masterfully evolved their sound with each record, fine-tuning and delivering constantly. There’s a linear progress that can be traced all the way back to their early recordings and this record feels like a culmination of that work.

The secret is out now. The time is right for world domination.

It Won/t Be Like This All The Time is out today (18th Jan 2019) on Rock Action Records

THE TWILIGHT SAD | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

THE TWILIGHT SAD | 24.11.2018 | Leeds O2 Academy | REVIEW and PHOTOS

The Twilight Sad – 24th November 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

A night in Leeds with two of the greatest Scottish bands of all time! It’s an early start for TTS since it’s a Saturday and there’s a 10pm venue curfew. That doesn’t deter the TTS Fans who are down here in numbers to support the lads.

Their slow and steady trajectory is building to a long-awaited new album which is out early 2019. With sold out shows all over Europe now, the secret is out. Gone are the days of turning up and paying on the door.

The first time I saw them was in 2011 with Mogwai at the Gateshead Sage, my ticket from the show above for nostalgia purposes! That night hooked me in and I’ve been a fan ever since. Despite technical issues on the night, they made a memorable impression, I went and bought both of their records the next day. That’s what they do. You see them, you’re blown away, you come back to the next show with more pals and let them in on the secret.

Hard graft, great support slots and damn good songs have paid off. They’re now labelmates with Mogwai on Rock Action Records. Truly a band on the rise. I can’t think of a band that deserves success more than these humble chaps. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of them in 2019. New album ‘It Won/t Be Like This All The Time’ is out in January and a full UK tour is anticipated.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

The Twilight Sad take to the stage, it’s really dark, moody vibe with nearly no light, just a whiff of smoke and the occasional strobe. With the band performing in silhouette for much of the show.

The set is a lean 45 minutes, so there’s no messing about. Highlights include new material I/m Not Here and VTr which are both becoming firm live favourites. Seb’s percussion propels VTr to another level, impossible not to lose your shit to this one.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

Videograms, I have to admit is a bit lost on me. A minor change of direction soundwise but it seems to be growing on me with each listen. Its sound is highly synth-led, Cure Depeche Mode, INXS type vibes show the band have grown and diversified from the bludgeoning wall of guitar sound that I fell in love with back in the day. There’s something magic in the new sound, but I must admit I adore that wall of guitar noise! However, it does add balance to the set, giving a softer edge and adding a welcome respite. I need to hear it in context of the record, give me a few more plays when I get my hands on the LP and I’m sure it’ll grow on me.

Their version of the classic Keep Yourself Warm gained the most enthusiastic response from the crowd. I’d love to hear a live version of this released, it’s simply wonderful.

The Twilight Sad – 24th Nov 2018 – Leeds O2 Academy

They close on And She Would Darken The Memory, which sends shivers down my spine and fists pumping in the air. It’s all over too fast, just a little slice of perfection. There are no tears for me this time around, the Leeds Brudenell show (head here for that write up) was very cathartic experience with my own mental health battle this year, music has saved me. I’m back to that lovely feeling of sheer euphoria from a Twilight Sad show.

With a bill like this, it’s easy to forget that I’m actually here to see two bands! Oh yeah, Mogwai are still to come! A full review and photo feature for that very soon.

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THE TWILIGHT SAD | 10.11.2018 | Paris Point Ephémère | REVIEW

THE TWILIGHT SAD | 10.11.2018 | Paris Point Ephémère | REVIEW

The Twilight Sad – 10th November 2018 – Paris Point Ephémère

Feature by Sarah Sarti

When you walk to the Glasgow bus station in the middle of the night and you see two foxes playing in a small garden unconcerned by the pouring rain or you, you know it’s gonna be a great weekend. This morning my destination is Paris, where l am gonna spend a weekend with a friend and on Saturday night The Twilight Sad will play the first gig of the European promo tour for the new album.

Paris welcomes us with a lovely sunny day, so what do you apart from strolling along Canal St.Martin? Look for a crepe, obviously! There is time for a quick mint tea at the beautiful Mosque and a walk in the Jardin Des Plantes while the sun is going down. In the evening we go to the Musee Du Luxembourg where there is a Mucha exhibition we both long for: the rooms are packed but the beauty of these painting will stay with me for a long time. We have dinner then head to the hotel, the day has been long and we need our beauty sleep.

Saturday is Sad day, so the sun is gone and an almost Scottish rain lashes the whole city! Our mission this morning is to visit Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur: the place is so charming that it cannot be spoiled, not even by the constant river of tourists. We have a walk in the less busy part of the area, there is a small vineyard and a beautiful cemetery, called Saint Vincent, where a lot of graves are covered with ivy in a million of autumnal colours, really enchanting. We sit for lunch and a coffee for a while, and in the meantime, the rain stops: we also manage to pretend we are not so excited about the gig tonight, so we have a look at a small art gallery called Les Douches where there is a photographic exhibition by Aaron Suskind.

We go to the venue at 7pm and there are already some people queuing, looks like our “secret” band is not so secret anymore, and this is a very good news because The Twilight Sad deserve to be known and loved by a wider audience.

The show is sold out and when Michael Timmons goes onstage the venue is already packed: this intimate and elegant songwriter is playing for the first time in Europe and will open all gigs on the tour. He holds our interest with a handful of songs from his debut album “Bone Coloured” and l am happy to say the audience listens in silence and pays the right attention.

The Twilight Sad…oh, well, this is the hard part, right? Because l am supposed to sound unbiased but this band live is so amazing, so powerful and so emotional that is impossible not to be enthusiastic. The audience gets on fire as they open with There’s a Girl In The Corner, then we are introduced to some new songs: it’s the first time l hear I’m Not Here and they nail it, delivering an immense version. The Arbor and Vtr are on the setlist as well, the second being already one of the hardcore fans favourites. The rest of the show is a collection of songs that we should call “classics” already, from “The Wrong car” to Cold Days From The Birdhouse, but the most touching moment is without a doubt is the Frightened Rabbit cover Keep Yourself Warm, a song that never fails to move everyone.

As usual they play no encore and when the lights turn on, here we are, a bunch of miserable souls with our ears buzzing and our hearts full. It’s been said before but really, do yourself a favour and go to see these guys playing.