Review: Twin Atlantic – Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen – 18th May 2017

With an hour between doors and the first band, the Aberdeen crowd were all busy chatting, ordering from the bar or out in the smoking area by the time The Pale White (★★) took to the stage to scattered applause. With the first song plagued with sound-checking, it was hard to gauge what the trio from Newcastle were bringing to the table. Once things got underway it was obvious that their sound was heavily influenced by bands like Arctic Monkeys, but almost too much, as it seemed they were just imitating. The slicked-back-hair rock and roll vibe didn’t quite sit well with the bill they were on. Things weren’t helped by the complete lack of energy from both the band and the audience. It’s hard to tell if it was down to The Pale White or the crowd, but it was causing a vicious cycle, with neither being able to feed off the other. The setlist was made up of very similar sounding songs that seemed to blend together, with the only respites being sparse wailing guitars and short bursts of half time measures. With awkward pauses reflected by polite clapping and the odd whoop, the band just didn’t seem to be able to fill the Beach Ballroom with the energy the venue needed. As the band played a massive outro, the crowd saw them at their most energetic. But at the end of the set, it was just too late.

It was a shorter wait for the headliners, and not before long, there was a rumbling bass that filled the room. Twin Atlantic (★★★★) didn’t waste any time and kicked things off with GLA track, Valhalla. With a guitar solo that encompasses the entire ballroom, it’s evident that the best way to hear the Glasgow four-piece is live.

With new single Whispers and fan favourite Free getting the crowd singing every lyric back at him, it seems vocalist Sam McTrusty has Aberdeen in the palm of his hand. When he claps, they clap. When he says jump, even those on the sidelines can’t help but be bounced along by the sheer amount of fans following Sam’s instructions. Twin Atlantic keep the show going at full speed with more tracks from the new album. McTrusty admires Aberdeen’s “beautiful venue” before the band slow things down with Great Divide track Brothers and Sisters. Even though this is a slower track than the setlist so far, the crowd are still on board, singing along and waving their hands to the music.

It’s not long before things are picked right back up again though, as the band play tracks from across their back catalogue, including a surprise appearance of Old Grey Face. The band leave the stage to allow McTrusty to play acoustic number Scar To Hide alone. Afterwards the vocalist imparts a sad recount of the day’s events: he had buried someone dear to him before coming to play the first show of tour. As McTrusty explains why he didn’t want to let this stop the band from kicking the tour off in Aberdeen, he dedicates the next song – Crash Land – to his Gran.

After the sombre moment of reflection, Twin Atlantic announce there’s two songs left. With this, McTrusty drops his guitar so he can throw himself in to the crowd during No Sleep. The headliners finish the first night of tour with fan favourite Heart And Soul, and the entire crowd’s heart and soul goes in to dancing, jumping and singing along as the energy hits a fever pitch. As the band leave the stage, Sam McTrusty addresses the crowd one last time –

“Today fucking sucked, but you made it a whole lot better.”

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