'Human After All' - Twin Atlantic, Manchester Academy, 02/11/2012

by - Saturday, November 03, 2012

Twin Atlantic, Manchester Academy, 02/11/2012

The 10 year old inside me that never got to see my childhood heroes Busted live in concert (thanks mum) is massively excited at the prospect of seeing Charlie Simpson. A sort of cultural chameleon, the magnificently eye-browed one has tried his hand at sugary guitar pop (Busted), hard serious rock (Fightstar) and has now gone solo, in a final attempt to be taken seriously as a singer songwriter.

Charlie Simpson
Unfortunately, the cheesy sensibilities he learnt whilst in one of Britain’s best loved pop bands of the noughties have stuck with him like a nervous disposition, present in every ‘HOW YOU DOING MANCHESTEEEEEEER!’ and hair flick. His voice is still as great as it ever was, and there’s something quite depressing about seeing it lent to such middle of the road music; pleasant at the time, but in no way memorable.

Things pick up slightly as he picks up the acoustic for Down Down Down, rousing in the same way Mumford And Sons once were when they were new and exciting. The entire band visibly lift at this point; if you were to turn the sound down it would look like they were performing the rock show to end all rock shows. Sadly, what we are hearing simply doesn’t match up with the enthusiasm we are watching, and I am left feeling more than a little cold.

Sam McTrusty, Twin Atlantic
If there is a band that deserve to treat the every show like its Wembley, it's Twin Atlantic. Having played Leeds Cockpit but a year ago, they look around Manchester Academy with awe and reverence, admitting at the latter stages of the gig that is actually the biggest headline show they have played to date. And it’s sold out. Kicking off with a raucous segue of Time For You To Stand Up into Apocalyptic Renegade, it runs like a celebratory show of their career this far, taking in the majority of their mainstream flirting album ‘Free’, as well as older fan favourites. Human After All proves to be the set’s pinnacle, Sam McTrusty channelling the spirit of Biffy Clyro as he twitches his way through the ‘take it all off/take it all off/ that’s what she wants/ that’s what she wants’ refrain. He’s growing into an out and out entertainer, punching the air frequently and looking visibly touched when his vocals are drowned out entirely during the crowds roar along to Crash Land.

The new song entitled Brothers and Sisters that is debuted this tour displays a similar level of ambition – a Bruce Springsteen flavoured trad-rock romp, it has the same mild political edge as all Twin songs do, something I’d personally really like them to push even harder in the future. On the cusp of being huge, they are a band who seem unafraid and could really have something to say – who said protest music was dead?

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