Returning to Manchester for their first headline show in the city since 2014, Twin Atlantic brought their acclaimed fifth album POWER to Academy 2 on Tuesday evening for a sold out masterclass in performance.
Wasting minimal time in sending one rather sweaty, highly excited crowd into frenzy via the fast paced adrenaline of lead POWER singles Novocaine and Volcano, it’s immediately apparent that the Glaswegian outfit remain as dominant and stimulating as they were back in 2014.
As often anticipated from a midweek show, the Academy’s packed out crowd were very much hit and miss throughout what was an anthem filled set teeming with nostalgia as the four piece revisited favourites from each of their five albums. Great Divide’s Hold On and Free’s Make A Beast Of Myself rapidly increased the excitement in the room, while POWER’s Ultraviolet Truth and GLA’s The Chaser were undoubtedly deserving of a much warmer reception.
Briefly pausing to encourage more from said crowd, frontman Sam McTrusty offered carefree chatter before breaking into the big ballad of Brothers and Sisters, earning adoring laughs as he joked “I’d rate you a six out of ten crowd, but if I’m rating myself I’m a three out of ten; I’m fucking bladdered!”.
That became apparent as he stumbled during the intro to fan favourite Free, effortlessly styling it out by singing happy birthday to a fan before restarting Free alongside yet another mass singalong.
The one standout from any Twin Atlantic show over the years, and maybe more apparent in 2020 than ever is the indisputable quality of McTrusty’s performance as a frontman. From start to finish, he owns the stage with a natural swagger which simply can’t be learned; this is a man made to be on stage, controlling his crowd in exceptional style.
Even when left on stage with nothing but an acoustic guitar and the sound of Oceans, the entirety of Academy 2 was firmly in McTrusty’s grasp; and if there was any doubt of his capability, the sheer emotion and combined years of sheer adoration for Crashland saw any chatter immediately turn to sheer glee; resulting in a poignant, spine tingling singalong leaving McTrusty's voice rather unneeded.
It’s no surprise that the newer tracks taken from POWER lack the same reception of older fan favourites, but as the band offered a glimpse of an entirely new, electronic side to their sound during the intro to Oh! Euphoria! the lack of buzz offered in return was entirely undeserved; as even thirteen years into their career Twin Atlantic proved themselves capable of much more than hard-hitting indie rock anthems.
“Thanks for coming out on a week night, when next week you might not be able to go out at all” McTrusty half-joked as he introduced triumphant closer Heart and Soul, which to little surprise saw the venue erupt with a heartfelt excitement which was easily deserved for each every track on the setlist.
Twin Atlantic’s return to Manchester was a display of one of indie rock’s hardest working bands doing exactly what they do best; the Glaswegians are the masters of live performance , and unarguably deserving of plenty more acclaim than they've received over the years; a band all upcoming artists should be looking to for a lesson in stage presence.
Photography by Ianthe Warlow