Review of Twilight Sad with support from Adam Stafford at the Ironworks, Inverness 8/11/2011
Twilight Sad come with a reputation already in place. Among the usual superlatives of “amazing”, “enthralling” and “brilliant”, there is another that is mentioned every single time.
So loud that although we were upstairs in the Ironworks’ Room Two, the staff downstairs were able to hear rehearsals as clear as day. So loud in fact that despite the best efforts of my earplugs, I was still left with my ears ringing. So loud I spent the rest of my evening recovering in Hootananny- the traditional Scottish music was a nice antidote to the unrelenting noise drenched in feedback I’d been subjected to.
I’ll admit I’m quite a recent convert to the Glasgow band, so none of this was really all that surprising to me, but the support for the night gave no hints to the uninitiated as to what was to come. Adam Stafford appeared quite shy in many respects – the awkward dancing, the staring at his effects pedals and/or feet, and his admission that his “stage banter” wasn’t the best, reminded me of the late Ian Curtis.
The Joy Division similarity also comes through in the music, although executed very differently. Adam is another artist who makes good use of a loop-pedal – everybody and their dog seems to have one these days. But rather than using it merely as a tool for creating the percussion and backing vocals, he uses it to build up a wall-of-sound using nothing but an electric guitar and some very odd noises from his vocal cords. Overall, a very strong and under-appreciated act to start the evening.
In a rather bold move, the Twilight Sad opened up with a new track, ‘Kill It In The Morning’ it’s a slightly different direction for the band with the greater use of synthesizers and (deep breath – I’ll probably be slated by some of the hard-core fans for saying this) a much more mainstream sound. Personally, I really like it, and I didn’t notice anybody else complaining. Mainstays like ‘Cold Days From The Birdhouse’, “Mapped By What Surrounded Them” and ‘I Became A Prostitute’ were also all present and correct in the set-listing, neatly mixed with some new tracks from their upcoming album.
The band appeared flawless throughout, with only one exception – the lead singer announcing half-way through another new track (‘Sick’) that “James f***ed up” and starting again – so I was incredibly surprised to find they had to cut their set short as the monitors had stopped working, meaning they were unable to hear what they were playing.
Nobody left this evening disappointed. Their eardrums paid the price, but I’d bet it was worth it.
Written by Thomas Bisset
Photos by Thomas Bisset Photography