Many of us have been lucky enough to follow Twin Atlantic over the years, seeing them grow from a band playing pubs and clubs to headlining one of Scotland’s largest venues. With the Hydro a landmark in the band’s career, we wanted to take you through the tour that is the culmination of years of hard work, with a little look back at some of our Twin shows over the years since launching.
13,000 people congregated in the SSE Hydro to witness a spectacle. Something that many, including me, never really imagined would happen – but always knew could be possible, some day. Twin Atlantic were set to take the stage for their biggest headline date so far in their career. Lead singer Sam McTrusty explained it had been an adventure getting there and they definitely “took the scenic route”. That, they definitely have.
Rewind eight days and they were gearing up to play the first show of six on their UK headline tour, the last in support of their album Great Divide. Over the weekend they smashed through two shows in Belfast and Dublin, leaving nothing but adoring comments from fans and some incredible memories in their wake.
Next up is mainland UK, rolling in to Manchester to play the Albert Hall. A venue which has been recently refurbished for use and is nothing short of spectacular – the perfect place to kick things off. Fans cram in the standing area and the balcony quickly fills, everyone hoping to get the best view possible.
Lonely The Brave take the stage and filled the venue with their brooding sound. It is hard to not be a little bit in awe of them, they definitely have ample amounts of talent and an incredibly mysterious edge that draws you in. They tick all the boxes for the kind of bands we have become accustomed to seeing supporting Twin Atlantic.
Bringing the tempo up a notch or two, Eliza and The Bear provide ridiculously catchy songs and feel good summer vibes. I would find it almost impossible to not to feel a bit better about life after seeing them.
Before we know it, the lights go down and Twin Atlantic are on the stage. They play through most of the songs from Great Divide including Hold On, Why Won’t We Change?, and a truly breathtaking rendition of one of their better known singles, Brothers and Sisters. Older singles such as What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?, Make A Beast of Myself and Free also make an appearance in the 20 strong setlist. They mesmerise the crowd from start to finish, and round up the evening perfectly with Heart and Soul. If tonight is anything to go by, the final three shows are going to blow everyone away.
Next stop, London, at the incredible Brixton Academy. They offer an extra special fan-experience, allowing access to their sound check. This certainly lives up to expectations, and in some cases exceeds them. Just when a large percentage of the fan base had given up hope on ever hearing some older gems again, out comes A Guidance From Colour, sending shivers down the spines of many, and several tears were definitely shed. They also play Lightspeed and We Want Better, Man. Audience and Audio and Atlas Factory are also attempted on fan-request, but sadly (but understandably), Sam admits he can’t really remember them.
Brixton Academy. Let those two words sink in. Twin Atlantic took to the stage in a venue that has hosted some of the biggest names in the music industry. A stage that so many bands aspire to play. Not only did they play there, they blew the roof off. Song after song, the entire audience hangs off of every single word. In moments like this, songs like Actions That Echo seem much more prominent with lyrics preaching “you need to live in the moment, instead of hoping that your future is waiting for you”. The sound of thousands of people screaming those words back at the four completely bewildered faces on stage are moments that will prove difficult to ever forget. Eight Days (from 2011 album, Free) also makes its way back into the setlist, and London laps up every second of it. Of course, such a big moment in the history of the band needs to be celebrated properly: enter the giant balloons and general chaos during Heart and Soul.
2014 – T in the Park
There used to be a thing in the world of Twin Atlantic called ‘The Birmingham Curse’. I can confirm, with no hesitation, that the curse has been well and truly banished. The penultimate night of tour sees the band roll up in this very city; by this point word has spread amongst the fans of how incredible the tour had been so far… expectations were high, to say the least. Only, I don’t think the band expected the response they got. Over the course of the past eight years, I have seen Twin Atlantic a lot, but I’m not sure I have ever had to take a step back in awe, simply because of the crowd. But here, the energy from the audience radiates on to the stage and allows the guys to put on one of the most stunning sets I have ever witnessed.
Edit Me is packed full of energy from start to finish, the band did not relent at any point, nor did anybody else in the room. A personal highlight, was drummer, Craig Kneale’s solo. He took this moment in the spotlight and he smashed it in spectacular fashion. Only proving, once again, that this band aren’t messing about – they have serious talent and they’re not afraid to flaunt it. The Birmingham gig fell the day after the General Election in the UK, with the results having been finally announced that morning – We Want Better, Man has never felt so important in a Twin Atlantic set than it did that night. The lyrics screaming the thoughts of many who are unable to properly voice their own opinions. Unreal scenes in Birmingham.
With that, we return to where we started: the SSE Hydro, staring at the black curtain that stands between the stage and 13,000 people. The room fills with excitement, and disbelief that this is actually happening. Glances are thrown around the crowd, looking for reassurance that Twin Atlantic are actually about to headline this gigantic venue and we’re not all being tricked. So, if that’s how we felt… it’s difficult to imagine what was going through the heads of Sam, Craig, Ross McNae (bass) and Barry McKenna (guitar).
The curtain drops and madness ensues. Confetti. Streamers. Balloons. The lot. The band share the same look of bewilderment that the rest of us feel, whilst also being incredibly proud. The energy levels never drop, and Twin Atlantic take the same show they’ve been putting on all week and multiply it. The same set list, the same charming quips between songs… but on a whole new level. Several times throughout the set McTrusty can’t hold back his emotions and offers out heartfelt words to everyone in the room.
2015 – The Hydro
When they’re not charming everyone in between songs, the music does it for them. Many years ago McTrusty joked that if people knew Crash Land they spent “too much time on YouTube” – suddenly, 13,000 people are singing the lyrics back at him and it feels like that’s exactly how it is supposed to be.
They go on to enchant the room with Oceans, which is lyrically beautiful and sees the whole arena light up as everyone reaches for their phones. The Cairn String Quartet are on stage, adding an extra layer to this moment, a layer that only makes it more exquisite. This was is of moments where it’s impossible not to be completely in awe of what the band have achieved within the past eight years.
2015 – The Hydro
No Twin Atlantic set would be complete without the punchy, louder, harder hitting rock – along comes I Am An Animal, full of energy, and the now trademark ‘making-the-crowd-sit-down’ moment in the middle. Everyone on the floor sits down, waiting patiently for McTrusty to command the eruption of thousands of people leaping to their feet and blowing the roof off. If you weren’t there to see it, you missed something quite phenomenal.
All week Be A Kid had stood out from the set, but here, in this setting, it’s something else entirely. All emotions are heightened and this moment will definitely have caused a few tears. I am no exception to this.
Musically, the band played a blinder. They had tightened up any parts that they weren’t so happy with the rest of the week and put on a show comparable to none. Every single night they did themselves proud. Every single night they outdid themselves and put on a show that, no matter which show they attended, the fans will remember for a very long time. They reached levels that they could only have dreamed about a few years ago.
This is not a dream, can it get any better?