It’s a year to the day since The Twang played at Birmingham’s Academy 2 and they were tagged as being a band “who look most likely to be one of the major players in 2007”. Twelve months later and what a year it’s been for this Birmingham five-piece! A major highlight on the festival circuit, a critically acclaimed debut album containing some massive singles and now selling out their own tours throughout the UK.
Tonight’s gig sees the boys return to their hometown for a celebration of that year and they’ve packed almost 3000 fans into the Academy to join the fun. But something’s wrong…
For some reason, it seems The Twang’s music has attracted them an audience which is disproportionately made up of what can only be described as beer monster yobs. Admittedly these yobs are very much in the minority but tonight they seem intent on making sure everybody knows they’re in the building. The fact that the band take to the stage at almost midnight means there’s been plenty of drinking time beforehand and before the first note is even struck plastic cups of beer are being thrown around the crowd and towards the stage.
“I’ve been looking forward to this one, Birmingham” shouts frontman Phil Etheridge and it’s clear that this event does have a certain sense of occasion to it. Christmas dÃ©cor adorns the stage but, as a punch-up erupts in the middle of the crowd and the bloody-nosed culprits are dealt with by security, it’s an even bigger shame that not everyone shares that “peace to all men” sentiment.
Luckily, a few idiots in the crowd are not going to spoil the fun tonight and the band carry on regardless, dishing out tune after tune of cocky, swaggering baggy punk attitude which has the punters singing along to every word. Singles “Either Way” and the majestic “Wide Awake” are greeted like anthems and the reaction puts huge satisfied grins across Phil and his right-hand man, Saunders’ faces.
There’s nothing groundbreaking about The Twang’s music and they wear their influences very clearly on their sleeve but these songs have enough playfulness and attitude, not to mention funk, that, for now at least, The Twang and most of their audience are happy to just enjoy the party.
Words & Photos – Steve Gerrard ROCK PHOTO