The Xcerts, Weather Barn and Farewell Singapore – Snafu – 04/10/10
The return of the mighty Xcerts to Aberdeen. JustBoy57 and JoJo were at Snafu and here’s what they had to say.
JB – After seeing The Xcerts at King Tuts last week supporting Futures, my excitement for this gig was beyond palpable; an Aberdeen band in a sold out Aberdeen venue on album release day? What more could you ask for?
After battling through a two-hour staff meeting I headed down to Snafu just in time to catch the end of Weather Barn’s set. Apologies to Farewell Singapore but I heard they went down an absolute treat and from a personal viewpoint it was pleasing to see them on the bill. Likewise, the new Weather Barn line up seems to be binding together like glue and although I have heard them play songs such as Tree Sleep about a million times, the new line up appears to have re-energised their set completely.
I get up nice and close to the stage because after being at a few gigs at Snafu, the sound is definitely much better at the front rather than the back; just a downside of such a wee venue with rocks growing out of the roof and walls. I look around just before they come on and the place is packed. And I mean packed. Like sardines in a tin. I could see so many eyes staring at the stage waiting for the first note to hit. I knew it was going to be an absolute belter.
The Xcerts jump into life with set opener Do You Feel Safe, taken from their debut album, “In the Cold Wind We Smile”. The sound is fantastic. It’s heavy as hell and it definitely sounds like there are more than three people up on stage. Next up is Scatterbrain, which is so jam packed with angst it could be the theme tune to any fight. New tracks, Gum, single Young (Belane) and Carnival Time are stand outs as the three piece showcase a newer more subtle dark side to their music. It is still that distinct Xcerts sound that we have all come to love over the past couple of years, but the Sapone influence is there for all to see as they experiment with different sounds and effects that come together to create something that is ultimately very exciting.
I See Things Differently, a massive singalong to Aberdeen 1987 and a rousing version of Cool Ethan bring proceedings to an end of a near perfect set. The Xcerts have came a long long way since the Stay the Same days and new album, “Scatterbrain”, is a perfect piece of alt rock pie. It’s dark and heavy, yet offers hope and calmness at the same time. The thing I love about The Xcerts is that they make music that people can relate to; they make music for any mood. And by the looks of things the sold out crowd would agree with me as they sang back every word till their lungs could give out no more.
I came away from this gig excited for the band’s future. I strive everyone to buy Scatterbrain and hopefully it results in this band getting the attention and recognition they so richly deserve.
Like the cold winter’s air, like those old creaky stairs, my love for The Xcerts will go on and on and on and on…
JJ – I’ve heard a lot of hype surrounding the Aberdeen band The Xcerts, but have never got a chance to see them live. I’m not even sure they are the kinda thing I would like, in fact, I have no idea what kind of music they play. From the tastes of the friends who have recommended them to me, I would imagine its kinda heavy guitar based music, maybe even what I like to call “shouty shouty” music. In a few days, I am going to see them play at Snafu in Aberdeen. I’m nervous! So, turning to my two favourite internet pages, you tube and the very reliable Wikipedia, I’m going to find out more about this band everyone raves about…..
Ok, so the first line of Wikipedia leaves me feeling positive, a three-piece “distorted pop” band. I’m quite the pop fan, can never beat a bit of Hanson and McFly. Distorted McFly – could be an interesting sound. Then, I read they were discovered by Sam Duckworth of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. I have a wee soft spot for Sam, this is looking good. I hit the word “Fightstar” and start to worry. My opinion of former Busted front man Charlie Simpson’s band ain’t good. I caught a little of Fightstar at T in the Park a few years ago, and wasn’t impressed. I was a Busted fan (I’m not ashamed to admit it!) but I’m not a big fan of alternative rock music, or what I like to call “shouty shouty” music and just wasn’t into Charlie’s new music. But, I hear apparently Fightstar are a credible band, and after having another listen, I might change my opinion on them later. So far, “distorted pop” and discovered by Sam Duckworth, positive. Toured with Fightstar, and other bands I’m not embarrassed to say I haven’t heard of but I assume they are shouty shouty bands, negative. Tomorrow night, I shall venture to you tube, to hear just what “distorted pop” means, and for my first listen to the potentially amazing band that is The Xcerts.
Well, I ventured to you tube, and I’m not put off! My friends who recommended The Xcerts to me mostly like heavier music, the “shouty shouty” stuff I was talking about earlier. This is what I expected from The Xcerts, but was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. The first song I checked out was Nightschool, which is from the Xcerts first album In The Cold Wind We Smile. The first thing that struck me was the obvious Scottish accent. Clearly this would be the case with a Scottish singer, but personally, this has irritated me in the past. Your average Scottish accent doesn’t annoy me, but I think hearing any clear accent in a singing voice annoys me, I just can’t explain why. Having only recently got into Biffy Clyro (yes, I know, about 8 years too late) has really help get over my little pet hate for accents when singing. The music isn’t as heavy as I expected, but I still think the gig on Monday is going to be a sweaty one, especially being in Snafu; low ceilings and lots of people don’t tend to mix. Next I check out Do You Feel Safe, the guitars seem heavier, and I get a wee feel of Blink 182’s self-titled album and I definitely feel like I’ve heard this before somewhere. Finally, I watch the video for Just Go Home, which I believe is also from the first album. I love the video, the room surrounded in mattresses, an idea I’ve often thought about incorporating into my flat. The song itself is really catchy, and I can hear a bit of a pop song trying to get out. I’ve got a feeling this song is going to go round in my head all night.
So, after doing a little research, I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s gig. From what I’ve heard so far, I’m quite impressed – I just hope I like them live too. Bring on tomorrow night!
It’s the day after the gig, I’m a little hungover, but really pleased that I went to see the Xcerts for the very first time. They opened with Do You Feel Safe, I was quite chuffed that I recognised a song, I almost felt like a fan! The atmosphere was amazing, almost a perfect venue for a homecoming gig. Although mainly playing songs from their new album, the fans were literally reaching the roof at points during the night, showing their appreciation for the band and the music. I was stood at the back of the crowd, but even then I was close enough to the band coz the whole crowd was getting closer and closer to the stage as the night went on. As they played I See Things Differently from their first album, lead singer Murray Macleod yelled at the crowd “lets dance” and dance they did. He then told fans that this was the longest set they have ever played, 13 songs instead of the usual 7, probably down to the release of their second album Scatterbrain, an album I am now keen to check out. The last song of their set was Aberdeen 1987, which really got everyone singing along: “I’m your new best friend, I’m your new hair cut, I’m the alcohol that burns down your neck and into your gut”. I will definitely be singing this on the way home. If they haven’t already done it, I think a good move for the Xcerts is to get the Aberdeen crowd singing along on one of their songs, 400 odd Aberdonian accents belting out a song can be a really powerful sound. After the obligatory chant of “one more tune” the Xcerts closed with Cool Ethan. This is another anthem-like song, a feeling that I get from several of the Xcerts songs, and the atmosphere of the gig really secures this feeling for me, to the fans, the Xcerts are almost godlike. It was pretty amazing to see a small venue like Snafu packed full of people singing the songs back to the band like they are Robbie Williams or Oasis.
So, I enjoyed the gig, I have Xcerts songs going round and round in my head, and I’m gonna have to get my hands on a copy of their albums and may even see them live again. I’m glad their music wasn’t “shouty shouty” like I expected, and I think I like this “distorted pop” genre! I can see why people rave about them, despite 2 of the band members looking like 2 characters from the Inbetweeners. I think they are a good example for other Aberdeen bands to follow; after all, being from Aberdeen shouldn’t restrict any band who wants to make it in the UK. Well done the Xcerts for winning me over!
Pix are by Still Burning.
The Xcerts Website