With the EOTY lists posted yesterday, now seems like a better time than ever to take a look at one of the undisputed bands of 2012.
Sell out tours, festival triumphs and a trip into space; this hasn’t been a normal year for Twin Atlantic. Drummer Craig Kneale takes us through the eight reasons why the boys from Glasgow have had the best year ever.
1 – Still living off a timeless album
The band’s debut full-length Free, was released over a year and a half ago now, but they’re still flying off the shelves. The album went silver in the UK in November and doesn’t look like slowing down in a hurry.
Craig: “It grew its own legs and it’s something that’s exciting for us – that we didn’t expect the album to get this far. We’re all still really proud of 95% of what’s on there.”
2 – Everyone loves rock music again
Guitars are back. Mainstream radio over here in the UK has jumped on the back of a whole bunch of young, British bands like TA, their countrymen Biffy Clyro and Lower Than Atlantis.
Craig: “Even two years ago a band that sounded like us would’ve been lucky to get a couple of plays on Radio 1. It shows that rock is as powerful as a musical form as it always was.”
3 – They’re big in space (sort of)
On the 14th of October a complete nutter called Felix Baumgartner jumped 128,100 feet armed with only a parachute. Mental. The band’s song “Free” was used on the official highlights video, which has been viewed by over 30 MILLION people. Equally mental.
Craig: “It’s very weird. It was really nice to be part of something that was a little bit more than having your song on an advert or in a movie, it was a cultural event.”
4 – Become a touring behemoth
This is a fairly simple one – Twin Atlantic own the UK touring circuit right now. A meteoric rise since a modest Christmas tour has seen the band play epic shows at 2,000-capacity Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London to universal acclaim.
Craig: “We were thinking we’d get to a certain stage in the year and then get up to the size of venue we’re playing now on the next album. It’s been unexpected but really exciting at the same time.”
5 – Made it in America
The boys from Glasgow ditched sunny Scotland for warmer climes over the summer by heading out on the weirdest music roadshow around, North America’s Warped Tour. Despite only playing to 200 fans most days, the band returned with an army of US fans and some decidedly ropey t-shirt tans.
Craig: “Your stage time moves around and all the buses are parked in the same area. It was a weird experience but I’d love to do it again.”
6 – Slayed Reading and Leeds
Headliners At The Drive-In played their first UK show for 10 years at Reading and Leeds this year. Twin Atlantic were on 12 hours earlier and attracted twice as many people at a time where festival-goers are usually sleeping off brutal hangovers. Insane.
Craig: “Those tents are 20,000 people or something crazy like that so we said that even if the tent was half full we’d have been over the moon but it was pretty much packed out. It was an amazing experience and it was one of the defining moments of our year and so far in our band.”
7 – Having an accent is cool now
We don’t want to alarm you, but Celts are taking over. Sam McTrusty’s trademark Glaswegian brogue is just a little bit too much fun to sing along to/butcher. With fellow Scots Biffy Clyro on their way up and Welsh riff merchants Straight Lines flying the flag for Cymru, there’s never been a better time to sound a little bit weird.
Craig: “We love Pulled Apart By Horses and we’ve always been big Biffy Clyro fans. Band of Skulls are really good, too.”
8 – They’re not even finished yet
New song “Brothers and Sisters” kicked a huge amount of arse when it was busted out on their recent headline tour. If that’s anything to go by, (which trust us, it really is) the next album looks set to be a corker.
Craig: “We’re going back into our studio in Glasgow for another few weeks to write some more stuff. It’ll hopefully be finished by summer and out soon after.”
Accents, this show was all about accents. From Southern England to Australian to Glaswegian, every band had one, every band flaunted theirs.
I headed to the Manchester Ritz to check out and enticing bill and see what the bands had to say for themselves (what I could understand, anyway...)
The Aussie twang opening the show belonged to [ME], a band that sounds like fun. had kids with Muse’s more sensible moments, bought them skinny jeans and taught them to write wonderfully quirky pop-rock.
Unfortunately for the band, the kids here for the high-octane thrills of the other two acts weren’t too interested, which made for a plodding, slightly forced set.
While their music didn’t exactly click with the crowd, the band showed flashes of showmanship on tracks like “Westward Backwards” that will serve them well on more suitable bills in front of more suitable crowds.
More accent-based fun came in the form of the south of England’s Lower Than Atlantis; a band that have done things the right way. These gentlemen have travelled from humble beginnings through to the forefront of UK rock through hard work, good humour and top notch songwriting, so it’s great to see them completely dominate a venue of this size.
Despite the majority of their set being plagued by muddy sound, the band pulled through with an infectious energy and belting tracks like “Deadliest Catch”.
An accomplished medley of Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” and “The Pretender” was a clear high point, as was the bombastic “Beech Like The Tree”. With the help of the old “sit down then jump up when the next song kicks in” trick, the crowd were left foaming at the mouth before the headliners even set foot on the stage.
When Twin Atlantic did set foot on the stage, it took a while for them to get going; first track “Yes, I Was Drunk” was a remarkably subdued affair. Not to matter though; the assembled masses promptly went several shades of batshit crazy as the driving intro to “Time For You To Stand Up” dropped.
This was a trend that continued throughout the night for material old and new, including a wonderful blitz through “Human After All” and euphoric call to arms “We Want Better Man”.
It’s been a treat to chart the rise and rise of Twin Atlantic of late. Just four months ago they played down the road at a venue with a capacity of around 350. Tonight’s venue held over triple that.
Vocalist Sam McTrusty’s searing, Glaswegian delivery is undoubtedly the best it’s ever been and he was more than backed up by a band in their prime: juggling keys and a cello on top of their normal duties.
Acoustic, cello-led renditions of “You’re Turning Into John Wayne” and “Crash Land” in particular were stunning and showcased a poignant, ethereal side to a rapidly maturing band.
Even as the last triumphant notes of “Free” rang around the room there was a feeling that this band haven’t even reached their prime yet. If tonight was anything to go by, these guys might just be an album away from arenas.