Gig Review: A night in the Twilight Sad

While Friday, in many ways, could have been deemed a twilight of sadness, it was anything but; beloved P&C friend, Mack Dunn, and I, humble blogger, hoofed it to Cambridge to check out Scotland’s own Twilight Sad support Japanese instrumentally sonic Mono, for a rousing gig in the Middle East Downstairs.

Us two, hepped up on coffee sludge and a pitcher of bitters, stood entranced by the Scottish outfit’s ability to create quite a bit of noise in the basement, all amidst a pretty steady background of Celtics cheer. And while many of their tracks sounded seriously muddy in the small space (and its of no fault of any caffeine of yore), the brilliant–and probably most well-known–“Cold Days from the Birdhouse” absolutely stunned the audience into submission at the end of the band’s set.

James Graham, front and center with one small light upon him, quietly built up the epic tune, with an absolutely spot on set of vocals. If you’d walked out before the end of the set, you probably wouldn’t have known he quite had the singing chops he does. In any event, there was nary many dry eyes from the likes of the female persuasion, as his rhotic accent left many a smitten, for sure (including Mack). It’s a shame Graham doesn’t use more of those vocals; most of it sounded warbled and dirty, of no fault to the band but maybe the sound check, or lack thereof, beforehand.

The Twilight Sad worked its way through a fairly short set of 8 tunes from both records, 2009’s record Forget the Night Ahead and 2007’s critically acclaimed Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen winters; the heavier tunes included “I Became a Prostitute” and “The Birthday Present”, while  standouts of a certain remembrance were “That Summer, at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy,  “I’m Taking the Train Home” and the aforementioned “Cold Days…”

And while it wouldn’t hurt for Graham to sing a bit more and avoid the scream-ish-ness, the band was a nice compliment to Mono even if not so apparent at the outset, and there was something excitedly grimy about the whole affair; affairs would have happened, in dreams so said Mack D., if Graham had have worked the accent a bit more…

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