Twin Atlantic + Fighting with Wire + Spy Catcher @ Birmingham Academy 3, 10th May 2011

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Tonight it’s to the teeny Academy 3 to see three potential new upstarts of the indie rock scene, Twin Atlantic supported by Fighting with Wire and Spy Catcher. To a young crowd, and the odd parent, in a VERY warm cosy room.

Formed in 2007, in Glasgow, Sam McTrusty on vocals, Barry McKenna (Guitar), Ross McNae (Bass) & Craig Kneel (Drums) are Twin Atlantic. Noticed after the release of their mini-album ‘Vivarium’ in 2009, they have toured internationally with the likes of Biffy Clyro, Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, Blink 182 amongst others.

So tonight, at The Academy3, they are here to promote their first full album ‘Free’ released 2nd May 2011 – which they hope will take them stratospheric. According to lead signer McTrusty, “Music’s been dumbed down and homogenised. There are lots of people who don’t believe in it anymore. But we’ve made a record with substance – we’re giving people something to believe in again.” So let’s see…..

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First support at 7.30 pm comes from Watford – four piece Spy Catcher. ‘Music That My Dad Likes’ received Radio 1 unsigned band of the week, and featured in Kerrang’s Ten Songs You Should Hear Now. The ickle venue is half full, but that doesn’t stop lead singer, Steve Sears, akin in flat cap, like most his band mates, giving it some vocal wellie. They’re still pretty raw with rock rhythm sounds. ‘Nobody Listens’ is a harder, three minute rock song, while ‘Remember Where You Were When Michael Jackson Died’ (about to be released as a free download) is for “anyone who gives a fuck about rock music.” They do a good job of getting the crowd going.

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Second up, Fighting With Wire, another band who’ve been touring the same scene as Twin Atlantic and are clearly inspired by the likes of Biffy Clyro and Blink 182. Apparently they’re currently in production with their next album after the 2007 album ‘Man vs Monster.’ The Derry band is more commercial and less full on rock than the previous act, the lead singer speaks with a deep Irish accent but vocally, sings a lot lighter. “Tonight we’re playing new songs.” Man in audience screams. “All I have to do is remember the words.” They go down well with the crowd – better than the previous time they played when they joke there was one fan – and now there’s three!

And now to the main act – Twin Atlantic. With multicolored spot lights and dry ice they open up to screams from the audience to play ‘Free’ a track from the new album, with a commercial and melodic rising tune. The crowd are clearly enjoying it, bouncing along to ‘The Ghost of Eddie.’ They’re slick – they deserve a larger gig than a couple of hundred kids. Indie sounding, American punk – again a cross between Blink 182 and Biffy.

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The crowd know the tracks and have clearly acquired the new album, sing and bounce along.’ McTrusty: “This is fucking amazing – we played to 60 last time we were here.” Well tonight boys, you’ve at least doubled that figure. And they continue their way through the setlist ‘til ‘What is Light? Where is Laughter?’ when everyone sings along, watched by the support Act – still wearing their flat caps, skulking around at the back of the venue.

“Thankyou – if this is the first time you’ve seen us – welcome to the family!” Followed by McTrusty participating in a bit of crowd surfing, during ‘You’re Turning Into John Wayne’. An hours set, no encore and they’re off – with a crowd who have clearly enjoyed the night.

So, are these acts the next best thing? All are pretty good live and are intent on giving it some. And full respect for wanting to rock the place out and bring indie rock music live to their fans. Spy Catcher for me, stood out – a little harder rock, prepared to be different. The other two acts were good and, maybe, they are far enough in time away from the original fans who followed the likes of Biffy Clyro, to attract the next group of kids getting into the music scene. For me they’re a little too similar, I wanted them to move away to being something a little more. But in saying that, a good night was had by all. A snipping of loud rock music. Just what the doctor ordered.

*****

Setlist – Twin Atlantic:
1. Free
2. Edit Me
3. The Ghost of Eddie
4. Lightspeed
5. Caribbean War Syndrome
6. Eight Days
7. Human After All
8. Yes, I Was Drunk
9. Time For You to Stand Up
10. We Want Better, Man
11. Old Grey Face (and the Way of the Magenta)
12. Audience and Audio
13. Crash Land
14. What is Light? Where is Laughter?
15. You’re Turning into John Wayne

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Review – Zyllah Moranne-Brown
Photos – Ken Harrison

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Listening – Twin Atlantic:
Free (2011)
Vivarium (Debut mini-album) (2009)

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