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The Twilight Sad

LIVE REVIEW: The Twilight Sad, Lille Vega, 13.11.2019

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The Twilight Sad live at Lille Vega Copenhagen

We should probably know when we look over five songs into the Twilight Sad’s set at Lille Vega and see a middle-aged man with tears streaming from his eyes that the evening will not leave us unaffected. It’s easy to be distracted; the set of songs — primarily pulled from their latest album, the creatively punctuated IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME — are at at times a blindingly loud crush of tremolo-laden guitar.The sound is remarkably balanced considering this almighty noise; that the bass and keys can exist harmoniously in the mix and not as an ill tempered screech and thud feels miraculous. This is to say nothing of singer James Graham’s voice — his full-throttle bellow never waivers. It’s a wonder that his vocal cords aren’t in shreds. 

But watching him is what makes the set take on a heavy energy. He’s pulling faces, twisting his body, spinning with abandon. It feels like watching someone work through something quite serious in real time. The rest of the band are stoic behind him, perhaps with the exception of drummer Sebastien Schultz, who looks like he might levitate straight upwards from behind his kit.

The Twilight Sad live at Lille Vega Copenhagen

It’s hard to imagine how Graham has the physical energy to move like this, to contort his face and body with that strange, protracted violence. But then he’ll say a few words to the audience and it’s as if he’s broken character, suddenly polite and soft spoken.

The tenor of the set changes with their penultimate song, a cover of Frightened Rabbit’s “Keep Yourself Warm.” Suddenly, it’s clear what is and isn’t a performance coming from Graham: His voice is stretched thin as he reaches for notes, and body is totally still, and maybe it’s projection, but it looks like he swallows hard as he stands with his eyes closed on the outro of the song. All the while a man down at the front of the stage has been waving his phone, clearly trying to get Graham to read something on it. When Graham opens his eyes notices it, he looks briefly very annoyed as he takes the device and reads whatever is written out on it. We’ll never know, but Graham immediately drops down and embraces the man, who starts sobbing on his shoulder. A long moment passes like this, a barely audible “It’s going to be okay,” can be heard, and Graham gets up to explain the importance of remembering the band’s friend Scott Hutchison, of keeping his memory and music alive. You would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it.

The Twilight Sad live at Lille Vega Copenhagen

It takes Graham a minute to move into set closer “And She Would Darken the Memory,” but now his performance seems like a defense mechanism, as though he can twitch himself back into the right frame of mind. He shouts off mic a couple of times like he’s trying to pull himself together. Does it work for him? Does it work for any of us? It’s an emotionally draining performance just to watch. But it’s unforgettable.

PLAYLIST: Here Today’s Concerts – April

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We have updated our “Here Today Concerts” playlist.

The Twilight Sad (Loppen, 03.04.2015)

The Twilight Sad has just released their fourth studio album, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave, to raving reviews.  Drowned In Sound wrote:  “The Twilight Sad gave birth to one of the greatest British debut albums in living memory. That was in 2007 and just seven years later they’ve given us an indication that they could attain greatness on a par with MBV or The Jesus and Mary Chain. Hell, carry on like this and we’ll be comparing them with The Cure.” Sounds like a band you want to hear, right?

Eyehategod (Loppen, 07.04.2015)

Wearing earplugs to an Eyehategod show is as effective as wearing a bulletproof vest to a catapult festival. As veteran purveyors of sludge metal, the New Orleans outfit grind out blood-encrusted songs that fall on the exploding end of the noise spectrum. Their music is the sound gravity makes with a limitless supply of anvils and anchors, the spectacle of which will be well worth the price of admission.

Kate Tempest (Vega, 13.04.2015)

The obvious reference point to Kate Tempest debut album Everybody Down is the Streets’ second album, A Grand Don’t Come for Free. It is a conceptual album that tells the story of three characters battling loneliness in the big city, with each song representing a new chapter; a rather ambitious undertaking which the young Londoner gets away with quite well.

Calexico (Amager Bio, 14.04.2015)

Calexico specializes in music of the soul by sunset, a style and attitude inherent to the group’s home in the Mexican-American borderlands of Tucson, Arizona. Combining the warm acoustic arrangements of country and the brassy orchestration of Mexican folk music, they can get big and loud without being unwelcoming. Their forthcoming album Edge of the Sun is set to release on April 14, the day of their show at Amager Bio. If ever there were a time and a place…

White Hills (Loppen, 14.04.2015)

Psychedelic New-Yorkers White Hills haven’t released much material in the last couple of years, but that hasn’t kept them out of the lime-light. An appearance on Only Lovers Left Alive–a scene in which the vampiric Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddelston and Mia Wasikowska gloomily headbang to the band in a Detroit club–has cemented their reputation as purveyors of far out cool. Loppen is certainly an appropriate venue for a band with the Jim Jarmusch seal of approval.

Grouper (Jazzhouse, 21.04.2015)

Having listened to Ruins, Liz Harris’ latest album as ambient act Grouper, it’s difficult to picture exactly what kind of performance she will put on at Jazzhouse. How do you haunt a stage the way that album haunts the mind? Undoubtedly with the aid of smoke and mirrors. Even if all that means is a bit of dry ice and some mood lighting, the aural component is smoke you can’t blow out, a mirror you can’t turn away from.

Moon Duo (Stengade, 22.04.2015)

If the East Coast psychedelia of White Hills isn’t enough for one month, Moon Duo are coming to Copenhagen to represent the West Coast. On the back of their latest critically-acclaimed album, Shadow of the Sun, the Duo will be kraut-rocking through Europe, leaving behind them a trail of burned rubber and broken speakers.

Colin Stetson (Jazzhouse, 22.04.2015)

Stetson’s New History of Warfare trilogy, recently completed, has gone a long way in redefining the capabilities of the saxophone. Thanks to circular breathing techniques and microphones inserted in strange places, Colin Stetson has turned the usually jaunty sax into an instrument of bleak and violent landscapes. Eerie pulsations and terrifying screeches are the order of the day, and we look forward to experiencing them in Lynchian environment of Jazzhouse.

Screaming Females (Loppen, 28.04.2015)

Actually there is only one female in the New Jersey Punk outfit Screaming Females, Marissa Paternoster. Even though she is tiny, she fills the stage in a way that stops the question “why are they called that then?” popping into your head. Her powerful vibrato and brutal guitar work is hard to match. Their 2012 album Ugly was recorded with Steve Albini and gained praise with publications such as Pitchfork. On their new album Rose Mountain the band explores new territory which results in a more refined sound which holds great promise for the future.

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