The Twilight Sad – Birnam Arts Centre – 12th September

The following is a moderately refined version of my thoughts following The Twilight Sad’s show on the 12th September.

We are about fourty two miles north of Edinburgh after seeing The Twilight Sad at Birnam Arts Centre in Dunkeld or Birnam, I don’t really know the difference and I don’t think they’re really separate places. As you can see from the pictures the gig took place under moody lighting perhaps fitting the poor weather and darkness sounding us in almost the middle of nowhere. I guess they’re twin cities or whatever like a smaller version of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota but just a little smaller and much more culturally significant – I mean they have a Beatrix Potter thing!

So as we bomb it back down the M90 to DJ in Edinburgh I’m thinking about tonight’s The Twilight Sad show – the first since hearing the new record Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave. I had already been enjoying the new record but to be honest it took seeing the band perform live to really affirm my appreciation for it. I think that because The Twilight Sad are a band without widely sing-a-long-able choruses and instead create a bank of textures to back emotional lyrical deliveries it does take seeing the band to fully enjoy the album. Emotion without a person to attribute it to is much less effective so without James Graham pouring his heart out on stage the musical textures evoke emotion in the listener less effectively. On record it’s just a disc spinning round but live when the band put a face to it for me it brings everything together. To me I feel it is because the music is dark and malancholic but executed with swagger by an artist who meekly gushes their thanks to the vast majority of the audience who are making at least a sixty mile trip to be here. I think why I love The Twilight Sad and especially love seeing them live is because of those three things; the insular lyrics to a confident swaggering drumbeat followed by sheer politeness, this combination happens to be what I most aspire to being and that’s why The Twilight Sad as a band mean so much to me. When the band instead play as a three piece which they will be on October 9th at The Pleasance it is a very different feel from tonight with clearer lyrics and less noise with Hidden Orchestra providing augmentation and as great as that is that’s not the rock n roll band we came all this way to see tonight.


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