The Xcerts – Sound Control, Manchester

By Andy

This evening was advertised as a three-way co-headlining tour, apparently alternating throughout the tour. Whether this is accurate or not, the running order for tonight is the way it should be, with The Xcerts headlining above Dinosaur Pile-Up and Japanese Voyeurs, in that order. If there’s one thing all of these have in common it’s that their sound, although all slightly different, is rock with an undertone of grunge.

Unfortunately Punktastic misses The Japanese Voyeurs performance but arrives in plenty of time for Leeds own DINOSAUR PILE-UP [4/5]. The Yorkshire outfit have created quite a buzz, particularly over the last 6 months, with their live performances attracting a lot of positive press. This is justified. ?Mona Lisa? is fantastic and full of those big riffs that they’ve become known for. ‘My Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is also excellent, while the slight change of pace with ‘Headspinner’ works well. The comparisons to Foo Fighters are obvious but there are moments where Ash and Weezer also come to mind.

It’s not beyond Dinosaur Pile-Up to reach these heights either, they’re not overly complicated but are very effective. They have some catchy rock songs and on this evidence occupy the potential to light up stages much bigger than this.

The only disappointing thing about THE XCERTS [4.5/5] tonight is the length of their set. Punktastic has been following their progress closely since their emergence and tonight is a coming of age for the Scots.

‘Scatterbrain’ is an outstanding record and comes through live better than expected, the fact 7 of the 9 song set comes from their sophomore effort shows how much confidence they have in it. The title track starts things off excellently and things rarely let up from there. While Murray’s delivery isn’t confident, it is more assured than previously, however he clearly hasn’t lost any of his emotion and vulnerability in the process. If anything it is better channeled and acts as part of a very eye-catching performance that makes the band a pleasure to watch.

‘Crisis In The Slow Lane’ and ‘Do You Feel Safe’ are the non-‘Scatterbrain’ tracks and fit perfectly back-to-back in the middle of the set. The crowd warm to these most of all, before songs such as ‘He Sinks, He Sleeps’ end a very accomplished performance. There are regular examples which make the Brand New comparison as relevant as ever and if they can replicate their influence in the years to come, The Xcerts will have done themselves very proud. The level of maturity these guys show tonight is very impressive.