When it comes to journalism and the music industry, I tend to be rather old fashioned in my ideas, and often, rather cynical. Far too often do I hear about bands that are touted as the next big thing, their tracks overplayed by the radio station a lists and their faces plastered on every magazine stand. For these reasons, I approached Twin Atlantic with an air of scepticism, having admittedly heard very little of their material. However, upon researching their history, listening intently to their debut (and very enjoyable) album 'Free', and of course meeting the band themselves, I found them to be the genuine article. Sincere, friendly and with a definite way around a chorus, it's no wonder that they have been invited to tour with some of the biggest names in the industry.
And so I am pleased to present here on safetyinsound a full audio stream of my interview with Sam McTrusty and Craig Kneale from the band, as well as my review of the gig that same night, at Leeds Cockpit. Enjoy!
|Sam McTrusty of Twin Atlantic, photographed on the bands tourbus during interview by Kevin Lawson|
We arrive late to opener Arcane Roots set due to the interview, but are instantly thrown right into the action of their noisy, ham fisted take on Biffy Clyro, put through a witchy filter of Mars Volta synths. In fact, when the lights are down, vocalist Andrew Groves exhibits more than a passing resemblance to a certain Mr Neil. Their name somewhat elevated after their controversial take on Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' for a recent Kerrang Covers cd, the band play a grungey set well suited to the Cockpits bomb-shelter-cum-venue aesthetic. A little shouty for my personal tastes, but certainly one to watch if you like your rock beardy and chock-full of impressive time signatures.
Having anticipated their live show for quite some time, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed by Dinosaur Pile Up. With a dull choice of opener and agonisingly sedate stage presence, they did little to follow the high energy of Arcane Roots, picking up slightly with an outing of new track 'Daydreamer' before collapsing back into the same comatose sludge rock. Whether the band were nervous or simply having a bad day I do not know, but they lost the audiences attention at large within the first ten minutes. From the frenzied moshpits of before, the crowd became a bland canvas of vacant nodding, the majority of which beyond the first two rows had found solace in their iphones, pints, or by checking the floor was still in evidence. Unfortunate, but proof that maybe Dinosaur Pile Up would do well to assess their Nirvana meets Jimmy Eat World pastiche and generate an identity of their own.
Luckily for us, the star potential is about to be switched back on. The Cockpit is a reasonably modest venue, but as Twin Atlantic take to the stage with their aptly named instrumental track 'Serious Underground Dance Vibes', it's obvious that they reek professionalism, channelling Paramore at their peak in terms of knowing how to build live tension. Whether its the venue, the sound levels or simply the talent of the band themselves, they sound huge, from the statement of intent that is opener 'Make A Beast Of Myself' to the heart-on-sleeve acoustic interlude of 'Crash Land'. Vocalist Sam McTrusty is a man who plays with true spirit, his strong colloquial vocal a testament to their no nonsense attitude and clear vision for their band. The stage is clearly his home environment, a grin creeping frequently across his face as he spots one crowd member after another singing along devotedly, giving each of them a special nod of approval. Fans are important to Twin Atlantic, and they like to make sure they know it.
If you needed further proof that they're set for stardom, Twin Atlantic even have their own certified Dave Grohl moment when Sam cuts short 'Apocalyptic Renegade' to deplore a crowd member for fighting, heckling him all the way out of the crowd. 'We don't want to see our fans punching each other' he comments above stadium worthy cheers, cheers from a crowd who'd probably scream themselves hoarse even if he sat himself down and did nothing for the remainder of the set. We're pleased to see this minor interruption doesn't hold them back, instead spurring them on to a thoughtful cover of the Pixies classic 'Where Is My Mind?' that sounds both bitter and beautiful, definitely well practiced. McTrusty's vocals admittedly begin to weaken towards the end, as he and his band look visibly (and understandably) exhausted, but this isn't before he accepts the inevitable fate that awaits him, clambering upon the speakers, before hopping backwards onto the crowd, relishing a short but victorious crowd surf. As he sings the final chorus of 'Free', the lyric 'Where's your passion? Where's your fire tonight?' has never been more apt, coming from a band who clearly have both in spades. Considering that I had no expectations at all, I left Leeds Cockpit feeling very heartened, and more than a little impressed. One thing is for sure: Twin Atlantic are going places.
(All Photography by Kevin Lawson)