The Twang @ The Victoria, Birmingham – 29th May 2009


A chance for The Twang to get closer to their hometown audience or a chance for a brand of cider to play marketing catch-up? I’m not much of a fan of the heavily-endorsed ‘secret gigs’ that have sprung up around the country over the past few years – the atmosphere is usually tempered by too many adverts and you’re more likely to bump into a cameraman than a fellow gig-goer. Both were true here.

I should also confess that I’m not that much of a fan of The Twang, I was just the only reviewer prepared to take the gig. I’d seen them before, at the Academy at the end of 2007, and thought they were fine but nothing to set the world alight. Their loyal fans enjoyed them though, and the atmosphere was pretty cracking which made the evening enjoyable enough that time.


Still, it’s always interesting to see how a band fares when the back of the venue is about as far away as the security barriers at larger venues. It’s often true that as the gigs get bigger, so does a band’s sound – immediacy is replaced with broader gestures and more expansiveness.

To some extent this seems true of The Twang, especially with the newer material, although they’ve always had a loose, baggy sound to them. They have no problems mixing up close with their fans though – ‘Come on’ they say as they step onto the stage, ‘ this isn’t London – let’s have some chaos’. As the gig ended, they got their wish with sweaty, topless (male) fans invading the stage.


I’m not really sure what they saw in the music though. Earlier in the evening the DJ has played Primal Scream’s ‘Loaded’, which seemed a little risky, seeing as how their sound is such a direct descendent. Too many of the songs seemed pressed from the same mould and even the Salt n Pepa-sampling ‘Push The Ghost”, the standout song last time I saw them and the one I was looking forward to, was a let-down.


The thing is, I’m left in the awkward position of having to write a review of a show where a fair number of people in the room enjoyed themselves and I’m not arrogant enough to say that any of them were wrong (although I can say that of anyone who laughed along with the singer’s casual homophobia) – one thing The Twang have got going for them is a tangible connection with their fans.

It’s a shame, because at the moment Birmingham is woefully under-represented on the bigger stages and I know The Twang passionately embrace their home city. I’d love to be more positive but then I don’t like them, they probably wouldn’t like me and I’m sure we’re both fine with that.



Wide Awake
Back Where We Started
Ice Cream Sundae
Live The Life
Push The Ghosts
Got No Interest
Either Way
Barney Rubble
Encouraging Sign
Two Lovers
Another Bus
Took The Fun
The Neighbour
Cloudy Room

This was a Gaymers Grassroots Gig as hosted by Gaymers cider.

Review – Chris Unitt

Photos – Andy Whitehouse

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10 thoughts on “The Twang @ The Victoria, Birmingham – 29th May 2009

  1. It’s not a gushingly positive review, if that’s what you mean. Anyway, I’m not sure the band needs any constructive criticism from me – they turned an advert shoot into a pretty raucous affair and left a bunch of happy fans in their wake. They’re just not my cup of tea, is all. You can’t like everything.

  2. I agree Chris,some bands you like,some you don’t,some are good,some are bad.I find it easier to take the pictures than do the review,you can keep your thourghts to yourself then.I’ve seen some mega bands doing this and I’ve also seen some right bollocks.I thourght The Twang were pretty good in my opinion but thats my opinion and Chris has his.Neither of us is right or wrong.

  3. I too truly wish a band would break from round this area. But I am not a fan of most of the ones doing the rounds and even the bigger ones are hit and miss. Editors, The Twang, they’re all pretty boring

  4. There are bands out there in Birmingham, the problem is with the fans and their seeming lack of enthusiasm for new stuff. Bands like Sick City Club and The Musgraves are both Birmingham based and writing cracking stuff, but the situation in brum doesn’t offer the opportunity to have word of mouth building massive fanbases like in london or Manchester. Even The Twang were only getting 50/60 regular gig goers before they got signed, so the problem is as much the environment as the lack of new music itself!

  5. I think a lot of people have stopped going to gigs.Many years ago I’d go to ‘the old’JBs 3 or 4 times a week and then the same with ‘the old’Robin,free in early week and a few quid in at weekends but now its so expensive just to go and see a band even a bloody rip off tribute band so its once a month if that.Are there any free in venues anymore?

  6. I’m going to see The Twang next Tues @ Electric Ballroom in Camden, have really been looking forward to it but little disappointed with the above review. I saw them perform @ Glastonbury and thought they were top so lets hope it is just an opinion and not a generalism.
    I have seen a few set lists and they don’t do – Don’t Wait UP.
    That’s bad form, that is a tuuune!!! I wana hear it live!!

  7. I was there, right behind the man taking these shots…………it was fantastic, brilliant and initmate! I love it when it feels like that ;0)

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