Everyone Wants To Be Here And No One Is Leaving
Fresh from a tour of North America supporting The Cure and before they embark on an equally long European tour supporting Robert Smith’s goth legends which will take them out to the end of the year, The Twilight Sad are the epitome of the hard working band who, after a decade of writing, recording, touring and starting all over again, have recently become an overnight success. Hailing from Kilsyth, they are rightly proud of their dark and foreboding work, whilst in lead singer James and his onstage movements in the manner of a peyote laden shaman communing with the spirits of the long departed, they put on a unique show hardly touched by any of their contemporaries. They had played a secret acoustic set last year at this young festival, but would this transfer to a late afternoon appearance on the Main Stage at a sun soaked festival?
The first couple of times I saw this band play live was in 2014 at the O2ABC in Glasgow and then at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut a few months later. They entered to the sound of a nursery rhyme which would have done a Wes Craven horror flick proud. It set the scene for their dark lyrics. Recently they have been entering to the sound of a an undulating bass driven feedback sample. It has taken me a few shows to get used to it, but when it kicked in at Electric Fields, even the sun began to run for cover behind the few clouds that had gathered.
In the brightness of the afternoon, the band members move into position at their stations on the stage. James approaches the mike and looking at the orange globe in the sky, comments on the unusual situation where they were playing in the sunshine. As they launch into their opener, it is clear that emotions are running high. Shamanic shapes are being thrown around and in between lyrics, the front man appears to be having a heated argument with a twelve foot tall opponent hanging over him. To the uninitiated, this might be a bit unnerving, but this is what this band give you….everything from the darkest depths of their music and lyrics. By the end of their opening song, the sun has completed it’s retreat.
For the next 45 minutes we are locked into a performance from a band at the top of their game. Between songs James thanks everyone for coming to see them. This is a regular occurrence at TTS gigs, but there is an added authenticity to this one, then we are reminded of the true sadness behind today’s performance.
“This one’s for Gary…..it’s ….this one’s for Gary”
Last January is played for The Lapelle’s front man who had passed away following an accident on the eve of his 22nd Birthday. They were set to be performing on the Stuart Cruickshank stage and it was roundly believed that this would be their next step on a road to certain success if they wanted it. Their song Grab Life By had become an anthem already for this up and coming band. Once again the spirits can be seen to be bothering the lead singer of The Twilight Sad but this time they are not invisible, the whole crowd can see the face of Gary Watson and as the song is brought to an end, looking to the sky and the sun which has decided to make a reappearance, James grabs for something that isn’t there and drops to his knees pulling his black t-shirt up to wipe his face and undoubtedly his tears.
He recovers to perform another 2 songs before triumphantly leaving the stage, but not before apologising for near future indiscretions that will no doubt be perpetrated as “we are all pi**ed”. There is no need though. After that performance Electric Fields can be a guilt free zone for this band from Kilsyth as they have given us everything we wanted and a little bit more.