The Xcerts

By paul

I first found out about The Xcerts when they were the rather odd choice of support for The Ghost of a Thousand and McQueen in one of Brighton’s dingiest rock clubs a good twelve months ago. Despite a frontman who apparently underestimated the bands’ appeal, they played a storming set which oozed with energy, and required little effort from the band to convince the crowd that they write some frankly outstanding songs – songs that manage to combine sweet melodies with a visceral rock edge, ultimately making them a hard act to pin down.
“I think we’ve always seen ourselves as a distorted pop band”, explains Murray McLeod, frontman for the Brighton three-piece. “We’ve got a lot of melody in our songs but there’s still a big rock edge to it. Distorted Pop – it’s a nice little tag!”
Since our first encounter, they’ve been going from strength to strength, and then some. Being ‘found’ by Sam Duckworth of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. Fame has done them no harm, and 2007 saw them release ‘Just Go Home’ through his Mannequin Republic label. On top of that, their videos have appeared on MTV2’s ‘Spanking New’ playlist, while some of the more respectable Radio 1 DJs have been spinning their tracks for the nation to hear. Bassist Tom Heron explains how they’ve dealt with all the attention;
“It’s been really great. It seems when we’re on tour, all this really cool shit has happened to us like Zane low putting us on and getting playlisted on MTV2. We just thought if we stay on the road, maybe more cool stuff will happen!”
Jordan Smith (drums) adds, “We haven’t really seen any evidence of this stuff happening, we just get told it about and think ‘that’s pretty cool’, then we’ll get back in the van and play a show!”
And rightly so. Constantly being on the road hasn’t harmed them, as tonight’s live set proves. On stage, The Xcerts make a frankly massive sound, and the likes of ‘Ghost in the Water’ and ‘Breathtaking Fight’ are played with a level of enthusiasm that sees the band throw themselves full-bodied into their music. Supporting the likes of Hundred Reasons, Manchester Orchestra and The Breaks has honed their set to perfection, and when asked to pick their best gig of 2007, Jordan makes an interesting choice;
“I’d say this show we played in Beadley, purely because it was just so spur of the moment. It was in this tiny village just outside Manchester. We had a day off with The Breaks boys, and we always assumed we were just going to bum around, but it got to like six o’clock and we found out we’d got this last minute show in a village pub!”
Not the average distorted pop crowd then?
“Ha no. Our fan base is very strange, but this gig was like 30 year olds and above, so I think they were pretty sceptical about watching us. I think we won over a few people though! It was cool, it highlights this sort of unified idea that if you play something with enough passion, then people will listen to it.”
With already a solid local fanbase to build on, 2008 looks set to be a year where The Xcerts will be cropping up on a fair few higher-profile bills and national tours. Not that they under appreciate the support of their fellow South-coasters.
“It’s quite rewarding”, adds Tom. “There are so many bands in Brighton, it’s hard to build up quite a following. It’s such a niche town where you’ve got the heavy metal bands, and the indie-pop bands and nothing in between. It’s great that we’ve managed to get people to notice us here!”
There’s little doubt that 2008 is going to be a year in which The Xcerts will go from strength to strength, and build on the solid foundation that they’ve already laid in place. Outstanding live shows, sweet, yet edgy songs and thoroughly lovely guys, there’s absolutely no reason why The Xcerts shouldn’t become the favourite band of many in the coming year.

Andy R

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