Show Review: The Twilight Sad @ Red 7 (11.13)

Our adventures on the night of November 13th ended over at Red 7, catching some of our favorite Scots, Errors and Twilight Sad.  It was vastly different from the earlier pop moments over at Mohawk with Jens, but welcomed nonetheless.

Read on for thoughts and photos.

Once we arrived, we were immediately greeted by the walls of noise from Austin’s own, The Calm Blue Sea.  Their recent album, Arrivals & Departures, is really a step up for the group, and they’ve stepped out of the looming shadow of similar noise merchants, Explosions in the Sky.  With light vocals, not often, but present, and walls of pure rock n’ roll, they seem less cinematic…sort of like the ancient days of Mogwai shows.  I definitely appreciate their live sound, and suggest to those of you in need of a good ear busting that you catch them soon in our quaint town.

Errors came up next, and I know our photographer Brian was really amped to see them.  I was sort of on the fence, knowing that they’re good, but not entirely sold; I’ll definitely be paying more attention now.  For one, James Hamilton is an absolute beast behind the drum kit.  He kept rhythm perfectly, accentuating snare hits and cymbal crashes all the while; his arms flailed about too, providing added energy to the show.  Musically, they’re some weird blend of electro, house music, and noise, creating an interesting sound that’s both propulsive and destructive.  I almost grooved into a bit of a dance motion, but I’m an Austinite so I just crossed my arms and tapped my toes.  Really though, I left the show being most impressed by the Scots, and suggest to all to keep the band on your radar, especially for live shows.

As for our favorite Scots of the evening, The Twilight Sad, I’m a little bit on the fence about the performance, though I certainly won’t say I didn’t enjoy it.  There was an ominous sign to the set, as the group struggled to work with some of their recording gear from the start, stopping and starting the lead number three different times before it was pulled off; it just signaled things were a bit off.  I could tell that James was frustrated, and it seemed to carry over into the set.  Songs from Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, as well as Forget the Night Ahead, just seemed to be missing something.  It wasn’t as if the sound of the band wasn’t impressive and loud or that James voice was horrible, just slightly off, possibly only noticeable to those who’ve witnessed the band in their top form.

Of course, I always like, or am intimidated by, James, who seems to revel in his own personal possession on stage.  He’s passionate, and you can tell that the true meaning of his music lurks deep within, which is probably why it resonates so strongly.  Personally, I would have turned the guitars up in the mix, but I definitely dug the presentation of the tunes from No One Can Ever Know, giving off a darker, even more stark feeling than previous efforts.  All in all, I enjoyed the set, and will watch them again and again, but this just wasn’t their best performance.

There are a few more pics at the photo site

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