The Twilight Sad Live @ Whelans, Dublin 2nd May 2015

Scottish outfit The Twilight Sad rolled into town last Saturday to present their own brand of Post Punk miserabilia before a Dublin audience for the first time since 2013. The weather gods could not have chosen a more fitting headline act – the relentlessly gloomy weather seemed rather apt for a band that cite ‘drinking and making miserable music’ as their most enjoyable pursuits on their Twitter bio.

Though not a full house, a very respectable crowd turned up at Whelan’s to pay homage – with four very fine albums behind them since forming in 2003, the Twilight Sad are beginning to build up a dedicated live following.

Opening with ‘There’s A Girl in The Corner’ from their most recent record, the broodingly powerful ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave’,  The Twilight Sad delivered a tight and powerful set, drawing mainly from their new album, but containing a liberal sprinkling of material stretching back to their 2007 debut.

Singer James Alexander Graham’s compelling if slightly contrived stage presence provided the main focal point as the band whipped up an impressive maelstrom of Post Punk noise before a very receptive Dublin audience. Graham was moved to remark that the show was ‘exactly what the band needed at this point’ in what seems like a long and arduous tour.

The set was well paced, with no discernible lulls and plenty of highlights – ‘Last January’, ‘I Became A Prostitute’ and ‘The Wrong Car’ all raised the roof but it was the trio of songs from their debut album ‘Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters’ that turned out to be the big winners on the night.

These three songs proved to be the most dramatic and dynamic songs in the set, with Graham’s voice showcased at its most powerful. It was one of those songs ‘And She Would Darken the Memory’ that brought the curtain down on proceedings and left the audience hungry for more. Alas, there was to be no encore; fifteen songs and close to seventy minutes after they took to the stage, they were gone.

If there was a minor quibble, it was with the sound – the mix was a little muddy throughout, with the guitars never really cutting through and Graham’s voice lost at times. But even with that, it was a striking, powerful performance from a band for whom festival headliner status seems just around the corner.

 

Words: Paul Page