Review: Twin Atlantic @ The Fillmore , NYC

Twin Atlantic (photo © live4ever)

Twin Atlantic (photo © live4ever)

Live4ever caught up with our friends Twin Atlantic from Glasgow as they came in to town yesterday (4.24) to rock The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza, NYC before their last scheduled US festival appearance in 2010 at next week’s Bamboozle. Check out our concert review and back stage impressions as well as Barry McKenna’s video message for their fans.

New York can be a tough town. Despite all the gentrification and Disneyfication that the city has seen during the last decade or so, at its heart there remains a sense that New Yorkers have seen it all, and they don’t have time for your bullshit. This can make performing before a New York audience a daunting proposition for new bands that are still making a name for themselves and paying their dues by opening up for higher profile acts.

Without even being given a chance to prove their mettle, bands can find themselves the victims of a New York audience’s jaded sense of been there done that. In fact, it’s not uncommon for opening acts to play to half filled venues and still be booed off the stage. What might be even worse is when an audience simply ignores a band. Talk about an ego killer. Having released their debut album Vivarium (Red Bull Records) in 2009, Glaswegian natives Twin Atlantic, touring in support of The Fall of Troy (on their farewell tour) and Long Island’s own Envy On The Coast, found themselves in just such a lion’s den as they prepared to play their first New York gig at Irving Plaza this Saturday night.

As if playing to a crowd in New York isn’t bad enough for an up and coming band, to make things worse, lead singer Sam McTrusty was nursing a throat infection that left him all but mute during preshow interviews. Not necessarily an auspicious sign of things to come. Nevertheless, in backstage chatter before the gig the band seemed in good spirits, and there was a palpable sense of nervous anticipation and excitement. After all, this is New York, and as the song goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.

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For those who might be unaware of the band’s history to this point, Twin Atlantic were formed in Scotland in 2007 and have slowly but surely been making a name for themselves in the UK, attracting high profile attention from Kerrang magazine and being tapped as an opener for Smashing Pumpkins and Biffy Clyro. The band’s sound is a hard hitting mix of emo and 90s grunge rock with a dash of late period U2 courtesy of lead guitarist Barry McKenna’s delay drenched playing. Catchy riffs and hooks anchored by the tight grooves supplied by Ross McNae’s solid basslines and Craig Kneale’s thunderous drumming, weave seamlessly into anthemic choruses, resulting in an appetizing flavor of alternative rock. This, the band’s first tour of the US, has found them winning over audiences across the nation and has even included a stop at Austin’s SXSW Festival. But New York City might as well be another country altogether.

Hitting the stage at Irving Plaza promptly at 8 pm, however, Twin Atlantic had no need to fear any Bronx cheers from an audience composed mainly of teenagers who greeted the band with a rousing ovation and then proceeded to mosh their way through the band’s high energy, half hour performance. From the opening notes of set opener “Lightspeed,” the band accomplished what so many up and coming bands have attempted in vain: they won over a New York crowd.

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Wearing a Kurt Cobain t-shirt, McTrusty soldiered through, despite his illness, stomping around the stage with his low strung white Stratocaster, and delivering his lines with a vigor and a snarl at times reminiscent of Johnny Rotten. McKenna stalked around his side of the stage punishing his beat up Strat and unleashing flurry after flurry of guitar lines that swirled around the venue. In a novel twist McKenna laid the guitar aside for “A Guidance From Colour” and pulled out an electric cello which he proceeded to attack with all the fury of a man possessed. A highlight of the set, and assuredly a crowd pleaser, came during “You’re Turning Into John Wayne,” when Ryan Hunter, the dredlocked frontman of headliner Envy on the Coast, jumped onstage and shared vocal duties with McTrusty. The band closed its set, fittingly enough, with a song called “Audience and Audio,” and as McTrusty and McKenna inflicted one final dose of mistreatment upon their instruments, respectively tossing their guitars into the air behind the amplifiers and on the stage, before storming off, the New York crowd showered the band not with a proverbial mix of rotten fruit and jeers but with hearty applause, a sure sign that the audio and the audience had met on common ground.

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Following their successful stand at Irving Plaza, Twin Atlantic are headed to New Haven, Connecticut to close out the tour with Fall of Troy and Envy on the Coast at Toad’s Place before returning to the New York area for a spot on the Bamboozle fest on Sunday, May 2nd at the Meadowlands, and then back across the pond for a series of dates in June in the UK in support of Gaslight Anthem. If their performance at Irving Plaza is any indication, Twin Atlantic will certainly be leaving a trail of appreciative audiences in their wake.

(Nick Fokas)

Twin Atlantic Tour Dates:

Apr 25 2010 7:00P
Toad’s place New haven, Connecticut
May 2 2010 8:00P
Bamboozle East Rutherford, New Jersey
Jun 22 2010 7:00P
Birmingham Academy 1 Birmingham
Jun 23 2010 7:00P
Glasgow Academy Glasgow, Scotland
Jun 24 2010 7:00P
Manchester Academy 1 Manchester
Jun 26 2010 8:00P
Brixton Academy London
Jun 29 2010 7:00P
Oxford Academy 1 Oxford
Jul 1 2010 7:00P
Amsterdam Melkweg Amsterdam

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