Standing in the pouring rain and the freezing cold (Scottish summer, eh?) for 20 minutes after the advertised time for doors to open sucks. But it probably explains why the crowd seemed so lethargic early on in the evening, despite local boys cryoverbillionaires’ gallant attempt to warm them up.
It even took The Xcerts a little while to thaw out the room – which is quite frankly mental considering the large proportion of females in the front row, and the fact that guitarist and lead vocalist Murray Macleod is hot.
Intent on being entertained the hard way, though, the crowd didn’t take long to succumb to The Xcerts’ musical aceness.
Opening with Home Vs Home, it’s a gutwreching song with a thrashing little hook that provides the perfect musical alibi for its distraught lyrics. Do You Feel Safe? is another emotional one, but its alluring rhythm, menacing pace and singalong suitability make it a surefire crowd-pleaser. Both songs have a cathartic energy that can make your heart sink right down to your dancing feet and bounce right back up again.
This tour’s set list boasts two brand newbies – Cool Ethan and McLovin’ – which both sound like little anthologies of amazing ideas. Cool Ethan starts pretty slow, goes quite heavy and then ends up ‘oh oh oh’-ing into a pretty poppy little chorus. And McLovin’ is just as much of a rollercoaster, with some pretty mesmerising drum parts and yet another corker of a singalong chorus.
There are two songs in the set, though, that make The Xcerts not just a really good band but a really good band. It would take Armageddon to stop the inevitability that The Xcerts will someday be playing Crisis In The Slow Lane to thousands, and they’ll all be singing back the chorus at the top of their lungs.
The other stand-out track, I See Things Differently provides the climax of their set. Starting with an exchange of guitar and bass riffage, it suddenly makes Bloc Party sound like they might have a place in The Xcerts’ list of influences. Loud and fast but oh so delicate, it’s a perfect little pop song that even spurred some hip movement in the crowd.
Then it turns into a big, noisy rock rabble. The kind that so many good bands like to end their sets on.
But no, The Xcerts don’t do that. They let the guitar and bass subside, bring some extra snare drums on stage – tonight along with the majority of Twin Atlantic – and beat their way to an even higher peak.
It’s not even over then, though. A gentle drum beat resumes, guitar and bass participate timidly, the whole room gawps in silent awe, and Murray sings his way to a haunting and heartbreaking conclusion.
Wow. Just wow.