LIVE REVIEW: The Xcerts @ Think Tank, Newcastle (8.12.14) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Strolling into Think Tank tonight is a somewhat depressing experience. The venue is hypothermia-inducingly cold and the crowd sparse, with groups of people huddled into corners for warmth. Consequentially, opening act Dalaro are playing to a largely vacant space. While the local four-piece’s synth-drenched, sun kissed indie-pop is perfectly lovely, they’re a poor fit for The Xcerts’ emotional rock and thus the audience remain unenthused and focused on fighting the cold.

Tonight’s Xcerts gig is a rescheduled date after the three-piece cancelled their original shows to tour with fellow Scots Twin Atlantic. Since then, the band have released their third album, There is Only You, to huge acclaim and five star reviews across the board. It’s a shame then, that the audience remains thin tonight (perhaps unable to make the rescheduled date?) but nevertheless, it’s clear every single person in the room is here to show their love for The Xcerts.

Starting off a little unsure but soon throwing themselves whole-heartedly into the set and embracing the intimacy, The Xcerts’ passionate alt-rock is the perfect antidote to the cold, with tracks from There Is Only You such as Live Like This and Kids On Drugs sounding utterly anthemic. Though the focus is on their exceptional latest release, the band delve into previous record Scatterbrain for the haunting He Sinks. He Sleeps and the Brand New-esque melodic clatter of Carnival Time, with album title track Slackerpop rousing the crowd with it’s sing-a-long chorus. The most energetic responses of the evening are reserved for the first two singles from There Is Only You; the joyous Shaking In The Water and the aptly named Pop Song with it’s pop sensibilities. If these songs aren’t being played in stadiums sometime in the near future, then there’s been a huge injustice done. The highlight of tonight’s show however, is a solo acoustic performance of Aberdeen 1987 from the band’s 2009 debut by front man Murray Macleod. It’s a heart-wrenching moment which benefits from the intimacy of the audience who are hanging on Macleod’s every word. A few sniffles can be heard, and this time it’s not the cold.

For a band who have overcome the odds to step out from the shadows of their peers and deliver a triumphant record in There Is Only You, The Xcerts are masters of resilience. Despite the lacklustre atmosphere tonight, they never let their passion wane, and it’s clear just how much their music means to them. There may not have been many bodies in the room tonight, but it’s clear that The Xcerts’ music means a hell of a lot to them too.

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