LIVE: The Xcerts / Kagoule @ Boston Music Rooms, London

By Ben Tipple

Rescheduled from mid-November due to their European Tour with fellow Scots Twin Atlantic, The Xcerts are preparing to showcase material from the third, and critically acclaimed full-length, ‘There Is Only You’. The album, in frontman Murray Macleod’s point of view, is their pop-opus – removed from the more experimental sound that dominated their previous ‘Scatterbrain’ record. Tonight provides the platform for them to test these tracks.

Preceded by Nottingham trio Kagoule, it’s a reasonably lacklustre affair. Providing another notch in the grunge revival bedpost, Kagoule’s seemingly deliberate drones do little to warm the crowd. The occasional shrill scream by secondary vocalist and bassist Lucy Hatter provides a glimpse at something more powerful, yet one that rarely breaks through. For the most part, the post-punk and grunge formula remains safe and uninspiring.

As The Xcerts take to the stage, it is largely their responsibility to energise the crowd. Fortunately, they do so with aplomb. Delving straight into their new material may be risky but the crowd embrace the tracks, singing the words back at the stage. ‘Live Like This’, ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘Kids On Drugs’ open the set, before the trio move into a wealth of older material.

There is an obvious distinction between the new and the old, one that The Xcerts would like audiences to embrace. Their evolution in sound, be it for better or worse, is on display front and centre. Seemingly aware that their debut still holds a special place in their fans’ hearts, there’s time for five outings from the record including a beautiful solo rendition of ‘Aberdeen 1987’.

Following set closer ‘Slackerpop’, the crowd are eager for more – eventually coaxing the trio into returning for a rare appearance of ‘Cool Ethan’, another track from their ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’ debut. The reaction again provides more evidence of their varied catalogue, one which has seen fans come and go – and one which makes for a confused, although exciting, experience.

The Xcerts prove their musical ability throughout. Other than one amusing restart, the trio are on top form – something that has become synonymous with the band. Relying on the sheer quality of their music and their relaxed stage presence, it’s a brilliant performance by a well-versed band. With a little extra push, a little more consistency and some careful decision making in 2015, The Xcerts could finally start to reap their rewards.