IF THERE is a musical equivalent of what it feels like to score the winning goal in the World Cup final, then The Twilight Sad’s tightly-wound frontman James Graham was experiencing it from the moment he walked on stage, fists triumphantly pumping the air.
The Twilight Sad | Rating *** | Barrowlands, Glasgow
“A f*****g sold out gig on a Saturday night at the Barrowlands,” he exclaimed. “F*****g yes.”
You got the sense this homecoming show was a big deal for the Glaswegian post-punk doom-mongers, then. It came at the end of a big year in which they’ve toured their latest album, Nobody Wants to Be Here And Nobody Wants to Leave, worldwide, and latterly learned that they’ll be touring worldwide again next year, supporting The Cure – at the personal invitation of frontman Robert Smith.
Emotion poured from Graham like his plaintive Scots burr of a voice. The moment when he entreated natives in the crowd to show fans who had travelled from abroad for this gig to demonstrate “how we sing Cold Days From The Birdhouse in Glasgow” – as songs from the group’s 2007 debut album Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters were greeted rapturously – was spine-tingling.
The Twilight Sad’s anguished anthems aren’t for everyone. Such a dreich palette did they paint from on songs like the Interpol-esque Last January and The Wrong Car – Andy MacFarlane’s guitar a monotone drone of distortion and feedback – large swathes of this set blurred into foggy indistinction.
But their naturally melancholy disposition is something they endeavour to transcend rather than surrender to.
As Graham put it before the band closed the set with a mighty version of And She Would Darken The Memory: “You’ve made five miserable b*****s very f*****g happy tonight.”