LIVE: The Xcerts / swim school @ Omeara, London

By Sophie McCarthy

The Xcerts jump onto the stage, in a flurry of strobes and electric guitar. It’s clear from their smiles that this show has, literally, been ten years in the making. Earlier in the month, Murray revealed how much they were looking forward to this night, and their collective excitement shows. Even if (in the words of Murray himself) “ten years hasn’t been kind to me”.

But before the craziness began, Scottish punk band swim school graced the stage. Through a black and white kaleidoscope of hair flips and effortless vocals from lead singer Alice Johnson, they smash their set. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and their set is over all too soon. But it’s not all serious punk here – they even bought along their ultimate fangirl, aka Johnson’s dad, who somehow manages to fill every moment of quiet with jokes in true dad style.

Then The Xcerts ‘imposter’ guitar tech, who they “brought along cuz he has a good vibe”, checks the sound on Murray’s mic, with a chorus of Freddie Mercury ‘ayos’ that have the crowd singing along already. By this point, you can almost taste the excitement in the air, and throughout the crowd full of 30-something year olds and teenagers alike, it’s infectious. The mix of people in the room is amazing, something only a band who’ve remained relevant on the scene for such a long time could achieve.

Just before the room descends into chaos, you could hear a pin drop (along with the trains running above), before the familiar chords of ‘Home Versus Home’ blast through the speakers. They start with one of the most energetic starts to a show since YUNGBLUD’s show in Camden earlier this year, and the energy in the theatre shows no sign of stopping for the duration.

Soon into Murray’s opening speech, their recent odd show in Aldershot gets mentioned. A resounding cry of ‘Aldersh*t’ sounds back at the singer who laughs before making a confession… “It became quite clear, quite quickly, that the crowd had never heard our first album before…it was like some awful date.” 

“Bet you made money out of it though?” A fan shouts back. It takes a good two minutes to get Jordan to stop creasing with laughter. “Bet you’re a Boris fan?” Murray fires back to a chorus of even louder boos. “Oh shut up you lot, it’s an emo concert…behave yourselves!” he chides like a Scottish mother before swiftly moving on with the next song.

 The more this nostalgia-fuelled, punchy party progressed, the more it morphed into one of the most enjoyable nights ever. Then out of nowhere, a crowdsurfer makes his way to the front – and before anyone has the chance to put hands up to help hold him up, Murray’s reaching out for a fist bump as the crowdsurfer falls to the ground.

With a trip to A&E avoided (and there’s always worse reasons to go), Murray’s already banging the life out of a snare drum marking the end of their first album. The lights drop and, only a short few minutes later, glare red. After a complete play through of ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’ we’re treated to a selection of their best tracks from the last glorious ten years. McLeod then ventures into the crowd to party with everyone in ‘Hold Onto Your Heart’. It’s safe to say from the band’s smiles that they’ve enjoyed the night as much as we have.

 As the night draws to a close, handshakes and hugs galore are shared with the front rows. The band leave the stage, the house lights come back on, and The Xcerts ’emos’ disperse into the night.