There’s nothing quite like seeing your absolute favourite band headline what appears to be England’s best kept secret. Wheels and Fins combined skating, surfing, and live music over the course of a very wet and windy weekend, and while day 1 maintained a steady quietness throughout the day – presumably down to the fact that it was a Friday and we were in the middle of nowhere – the main event was anything but peaceful.
As the day went on, the question of why a band that has played the main stage at massive UK festivals such as Reading/Leeds and T in the Park would agree to play something so understated was ever present in my mind. There was a general unspoken nervousness as Twin Atlantic‘s 9:30pm slot crept ever closer and the crowd remained sparse at best. I worried that the band would struggle to put on the wild live shows that they have become known for if the area around the main stage didn’t pad out soon, but to underestimate Twin Atlantic, is a mistake that I will not be making again. Not only did the area fill up nicely, but it turns out that Twin can turn any situation into something that will blow your mind.
Despite coming on nearly half an hour later than scheduled, there was little impact on the enthusiasm that rippled through the crowd. For me, at least, it only increased the anticipation, and had me screaming even louder when the lights finally dimmed and the Scottish foursome finally took to the stage. Opening their slot with the heart wrenching Whispers from their latest album GLA, the band’s energy had us engaged from the very first moment, and any lingering fears melted away with the warmth that filled my heart as I realised that I was seeing my favourite band again for the first time in 2 and a half years.
It was evident throughout that fans were hoping to experience some of the band’s older material, as they yelled out the names of songs from the band’s debut and sophomore albums, Vivarium and Free. The sheer rudeness of this was shrugged off, and Twin continued with determination and their ever present humour, as they half-acknowledged the request for Lightspeed (initially interpreted as “MySpace”), refusing to even speak the real name of the song. They went on to win the crowd over with ease as they launched into two of their newest and most fun releases Valhalla (during which I tried my hand at photography in the photo pit and decided it’s probably best I stick to journalism) and You Are the Devil, starting an uninhibited dance party in the beachside field, leaving “MySpace” all but forgotten in the minds of the audience members.
That’s not to say that we were totally deprived of the band’s older material, though, as they moved swiftly through the setlist, making frequent eye contact with crowd members, treating us to more songs from Free – my favourite album ever written – than we really deserved. Until that point, I had been in such total shell shock that my favourite band were in front of my eyes that I hadn’t really taken in what was happening, and had only really been able to stare and jump and grin and scream the lyrics back. As soon as the first notes to the title track Free hit my ears, though, tears streamed down my face and I was taken back to the December 2011, feeling all the joy their Free-ze tour had filled me with, and all the memories that came with it.
And that’s the thing with Twin Atlantic. They have this way of resurrecting periods of time you didn’t even realise you had forgotten, and filling you with every emotion you had at that time. It’s the ultimate nostalgia trip – as intense and emotional as it was all those years ago. And if this was your first time seeing them, then in years to come, when Sam makes his way into the crowd once more, and the band plays the soundtrack from the latter end of Summer 2017, you’ll feel exactly the same way.
Despite the short set – clocking in at around an hour – Twin put on a massive show, proving that rock and roll is very much still alive and thriving. The likes of GLA‘s hits No Sleep and The Chaser had everyone off their feet as they jumped along with some of the band’s most ~thrashy~ tracks to date, before closing with Great Divide’s biggest success story Heart and Soul. As the show ended, Sam took it upon himself to play Simon Cowell, putting together a new boyband, made up of 4 guys in the front row that had caught his eye, handing out picks as he did so and inciting giggles all around.
Aside from wishing they had the time to play their entire discography front to back, there isn’t a single thing I would have changed about Friday night. The moderate-sized crowd combined with the relentless and exuberant energy made for one of my favourite Twin experiences yet. They really can handle any situation and turn it into something magical, and we are incredibly lucky to have been blessed with such a special band.