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Review: Twin Atlantic O2 Academy Newcastle

The Scottish rockers returned to Tyneside three years after their last visit, and turned up the heat inside the Academy, says Andy Spoors

Twin Atlantic who are supporting Kings of Leon at St James' Park
Twin Atlantic

From old bingo halls to football stadiums. Sweaty bars to famous festival fields. Twin Atlantic has played them all. And that’s just this year.

Three years since their last headline gig in Newcastle, the en vogue Scots brought their now stadium sized anthems back to the O2 Academy.

In that relatively short space of time, Twin Atlantic have become one of Britain’s hottest rock properties. Testament that hard work pays off but also never stops.

Hopping from St James’ Park to Glastonbury this summer, the lads from Glasgow have now arrived in the big time. But in the confines of this sweaty old picture house, it’s a different beast: back to basics but with a huge amount of added hype to contend with.

Warming the crowd with Bohemian Rhapsody just before walking on stage negated any need for the impressive warm up acts supplied by Nothing But Thieves and The Xcerts. The Xcerts in particular looked to prove that Scotland is fast becoming the new rock hotbed of the UK, turning in an impressively polished performance and turning up the heat from hot to sweatbox.

Staying true to new album, Great Divide, a slow and atmospheric start was chosen to kick off the night with Ones That I Love - quickly shattered with a raucous rendition of Hold On.

Every time the pace of the performance threatened to run away from them, the boys from Glasgow pulled on the leash and brought the night to a much needed stroll. From the punchy rock rhythms of Fall Into The Party and Make A Beast of Myself, into the swirling and sultry Be A Kid, Sam McTrusty and co. dictated the pace. Swaying from stadium anthems to ballads and back again but never letting the crowd’s attention waver.

A curtain drop introduced a wall of lights and accompanying videos, delivering on the promise of greater stage production and more bang for your buck this time round.

But it wasn’t just flashy lights on show with the infamous drum solos normally a rare commodity in gigs nowadays, relished with aplomb by stick man Craig Kneale. It’s easy to see why his nickname is borrowed from a certain Muppet character.

I Am An Animal once again jump started the tempo. With Actions that Echo and in particular Yes I Was Drunk bringing further respite and stand out performances with its slow build and soaring guitar riffs.

Sung back to the band with added gusto, Free received the loudest reception until the very next song. Crash Land provided an acoustic breather in the midst of frantic and high octane rock was the undoubted highlight of the night. A delicious recipe of McTrusty’s emotive vocals, Barry McKenna’s soulful cello and a whole lot of crowd interaction.

The band’s back catalogue now spans three albums and it’s a breath of fresh air that fans aren’t just coming to the party now. They’ve been here for years and on this showing - they’ll be around for a while yet.

The band’s encore provided a snapshot of the entire evening, with the melodic Oceans preceding the energy infused Brothers and Sisters finally leading into the fist pumping Heart &Soul.

With Twin Atlantic’s stock rising by the year, it’s a fairly safe bet this will be the last time the Glaswegians will play a smaller venue in Newcastle, as the band get set to cross the divide into rock royalty.

Andy Spoors

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