LIVE: Twin Atlantic @ The Waterfront, Norwich

By Yasmin Brown

If you’ve never experienced a Twin Atlantic headline show then it’s time to rectify the situation. The Norwich crowd was sufficiently warmed up by the time both supporting acts Bellevue Days and The Pale White had finished their sets, and yet nothing could have prepared anyone in the packed out 700-capacity venue for the madness that was to follow.

As soon as the Scottish four-piece took to the stage, piercing shrieks could be heard from every which way, and as the night kicked off with ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’, the opening track from the band’s latest album ‘GLA’, bodies flailed around wildly as we let the night take over all our senses, setting the pace for the next two hours as the crowd closed in on the stage, forcefully screaming back the words.

Just three songs in, front man Sam McTrusty commented on the energy in the packed room, noting with admiration that we had established high expectations for the rest of the night – expectations that were surely met. This energy was perfectly matched by the band, with Sam noting his embarrassment at how much he was sweating so soon into the set. The heat had no affect on the band’s performance however, with them launching into each song with a new surge of life, playing old tracks such as ‘Edit Me’ and ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ with as much vigour as they did shortly after the release of their album ‘Free’ in 2011.

Sam needn’t have been embarrassed either, there wasn’t anyone in the room who wasn’t covered from head to toe in a thin sheen of glossy moisture. It was hard to tell which of the 17 songs had been most anticipated by the crowd, as the first notes of every one – new and old – came with yells of approval and unwavering grins as we sang along to the partial soundtrack to our lives. With his red suit trousers and floral shirt now completely soaked through with perspiration after performances of ‘You Are the Devil’ and ‘Free’, Sam noted how he was struggling to breathe as a result of either evading the gym for the past 12 months, or guiltily divulging in a massive bowl of rice prior to taking the stage: “Ironically, this song is called Ex El.”

Verbal crowd interactions were rare, as the band let the songs speak for themselves, but each sparse comment was dripping with Sam’s dry sense of humour and was consistently met with genuine laughter and smiles that lingered long after the band had moved onto the next song. Following ‘Fall Into the Party’ – an incredibly fun dance track from the band’s third full length release ‘Great Divide’ – and hit single ‘Brothers and Sisters’, the night took a more sombre turn as Sam was left alone on the stage accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. What followed was an emotional tribute to the late Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit in the form of a cover of ‘My Backwards Walk’. The performance was met with a respectful silence, followed by scattered yells of “RIP Scott!”. The band then made the tactful decision to slowly bring us out of mourning slowly with a stunning performance of fan favourite, ‘Crash Land’ (featuring the incredible multi-talented Barry on cello), building up to ‘Yes, I Was Drunk’ whose climax brought the energy back to 100% just in time for the final two songs of the night.

‘No Sleep’ and ‘Heart and Soul’ are arguably the band’s most coveted songs and as such, were the perfect choice to bring the night to a close. As we were encouraged to make the most of these last few moments together, we let loose for the last time only to be joined by Sam as he launched himself on top of the crowd, ensuring that we felt as much as part of the band as the other three members.

The night was messy, and with the exception of the tightness with which Twin Atlantic play their music together, there was nothing controlled about the two hours we spent in each other’s company. The band encourage a total lack of inhibition and a sense of togetherness that can only exist between people that all relate to the same words, the same riffs and the same beats. To solidify this connection, the band ended the night with Sam jumping down in front of the barrier, encouraging our floundering hands to strum his guitar before they finally left the stage to roaring cheers from a very satisfied crowd.

After the show, Sam tweeted that this small club show in the East of England may have just made his top 10 shows of all time, which for a band that has been touring extensively for the better part of a decade says a lot about the connections that were made in the room that night, and the deep intensity with which we feel Twin Atlantic’s music. From the main stage at a festival, to tiny sweaty clubs, this band knows how to put on a rock show and with every year that passes they only further prove themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.