Posted in To Do | music | pictures on October 6, 2009

words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

The Twilight Sad
Twilight Sad

If it was possible The Twilight Sad have gone even darker on their new record Forget The Night Ahead (Fat Cat). Yet what was evident on Friday night at Brooklyn's Southpaw is their live sound has not suffered as a result. Headlining an "early" set, along with label mates Brakesbrakesbrakes and We Were Promised Jetpacks, the Scottish quartet ratcheted the volume and dissonance blanketing lead singer James Graham's bleak lyrics about familial dysfunction and neglect.

Before all that, however, it was fellow Scots, We Were Promised Jetpacks, riding into Brooklyn on a wave of buzz. A full, but not sold out, venue led lead singer Adam Johnson to comment how there may have been only four people out to seem them on a visit to New York earlier this year. Supporting their summer release These Four Walls, it was a solid and heartfelt set - Johnson, belting out his lyrics, rising up on his toes for maximum effect. But it was always going to be the single "Quiet Little Voices" (played ad nauseum by the likes of KEXP) to garner the loudest applause.

The Fat Cat showcase continued with Brighton's Brakesbrakesbrakes (replacing Frightened Rabbits on this leg of the tour) and their set of sturdy rock numbers included cute 15-second songs like "Spring Chicken" and "Porcupine or Pineapple" played a second time after guitarist, Tom White admitted he "fucked up the chorus." White was the most entertaining of the quartet, thrashing about and raking his guitar violently along the mic stand.

But both bands still have a bit of a ways to go to match the sonic spectacle that is The Twilight Sad. With a sound that begs for an arena, the intimate nature of Southpaw allowed the Twilight Sad to swap their song's penchant for the epic for more intensity.

The searing guitar feedback from Night Ahead track and set opener "Reflection of the Television" gave way to the rumbling drums and bass as the curtains pulled back to find Graham and guitarist Andy MacFarlane sporting newly shaved heads. Graham stepped forth and doubled over singing "There's people downstairs, I'm more than a fighter, you know."

Keeping track of the songs off the setlist was a test in Caledonian translation as "Television" was listed as "Doonstairs" and "Loud/Quiet" was "Talking With Fireworks/Here, It Never Snowed" from 2007's debut "Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters." Graham picked up a drumstick, dropped to his knees and hammered along with drummer Mark Devine during the loud part.

That debut landed them critical praise on both sides of the Atlantic and Graham mentioned that he thinks they had played more shows in New York than in Glasgow and he wasn't sure if that was a good thing. They did split the set almost evenly with songs from both records instead of opting for the practice of loading the set with new songs at the cost of older, familiar ones.

The fevered pitch of the set reached dizzying heights with showstopper "The Neighbours Can't Breathe" a train-without-breaks-number from the new record and Graham's primal screen of "You keep pulling on the heart strings."

Graham walked into the crowd for "Cold Days From The Birdhouse", singing back to his band and then stood painfully still on stage as "And She Would Darken The Memory of Youth" and set closer "I Am Taking The Train Home"'s swirling outros played around him. The latter building into a five-minute wall of noise as he left the stage. It wasn't quite "You Made Me Realise", but the nod was clearly in that direction and perfectly executed to punish anyone without ear plugs. Fair warning if you plan to see them Tuesday (TONIGHT, 10/6) at the Bowery Ballroom (tickets).

More pictures below...

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

We Were Promised Jetpacks

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

BrakesBrakesBrakes

The Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Twilight Sad

Tour Dates HERE.

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Comments (23)

anyone have a setlist of any of the bands who played?

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 3:19 PM

Serious question:
What time will the Twilight Sad go on tonight? I have a few things to do before I can get to Bowery Ball Room.
Thanks.

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 3:47 PM

Does anyone knows at what time the show starts tonight? Bowery sites says doors 7:30pm. Don't if show starts at 8pm or 8:30pm.

We Were Promised Jetpacks and Brakes have more energy inherited in their music but The Twilight Sad is so fucking epic! And the sound was spot on. Other times that I'd seen them, vocals tend to get lost in the mix during the louder parts but that wasn't the case on Friday. Hoping for the same quality tonight.

Twilight Sad set list:
Reflection of the Television
That Summer, at Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy
Made to Disappear
Talking with Fireworks
Seven Years of Letters
I Became a Prostitute
The Neighbours Can't Breathe
Cold Days From the Birdhouse
And She Would Darken the Memory
I'm Taking the Train Home

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 3:49 PM

Yes, does anyone have set times for tonight?

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 3:50 PM

which band is more EPIC twighlight sad or frightened rabbit?

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 3:58 PM

"we were promised hummus"

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 4:01 PM

the hummus "meme" sucks, give it up.

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 4:03 PM

"hummus were promised jetpacks"

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 4:12 PM

Anon @ 3:58 PM. Don't be ridiculous. The Twilight Sad, of course.

BV, any contacts to come up with the set times? I'll do with the show start time.

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 4:18 PM

I called the box office. Jetpacks are on at 8:30, and they are the first band.

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 4:22 PM

Thanks, Anon @ 4:22

So guessing here, it'd go:
We Were Promised Jetpacks 8:30PM
Brakes 9:30PM
Twilight Sad 10:30pm

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 4:43 PM

you are so lazy that you made someone else call to find out what time a show starts for you? WOW.

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 4:53 PM

Yeah, box ofice nows. The 1st band might be a few minutes late - these things never run smoothly. I'm guessing this:

We Were Promised Jetpacks 8:30PM (more like 8:35-8:45 pm +/- 10-15 minutes)

Brakes 9:30PM (I would not call it. depends on when the 1st band actually starts and finishes playing).

Twilight Sad 10:30pm (obviously, this get even more complicated with the third band as now they are 2 bands playing before them. could be ANYTHING!!)

So yeah, hope this helps. Exercize coution and common sense. I'm outta here!

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 5:03 PM

that's a late night for a school night.

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 5:21 PM

^ 5:21 (hint: skip 1st class)

Posted by donn | October 6, 2009 5:25 PM

Call Mercury Lounge box office for any Bowery Presents show between 12-6 pm and they'll give you set times. They're almost always accurate.

Posted by Anonymous | October 6, 2009 5:37 PM

such a great show. brakes are fucking horrible though.

Posted by Anonymous | October 7, 2009 12:43 AM

Agreed. Brakes are the worst.

Posted by Anonymous | October 7, 2009 9:35 AM

"We are the Twilight Sad from Glasgow, Scotland." That was a brilliant show last night. Thank you the Twilight Sad. Sincerely, the Old Firm.

Posted by The Old Firm | October 7, 2009 10:42 AM

Guess there won't be a post about the Bowery show, so...

First of all, the vocals for all three bands could had used a little bit more volume in the mix. Sometimes I wonder if the sound man is even in the room as the bands are playing. This show went on for almost three hours and he didn't fix it.

As for the bands, I don't think Brakes is terrible per se. They are just a band about silly songs (Porcupine and pineapple. Prickly, prickly, prickly!) They are a bit fun to watch but I wouldn't listen to their songs in my private time.

The other bands were another story. We Were Promised Jetpacks had a lot of energy and had the best showmanship of the three, but I wasn't as impressed as most people who've gone around raving about them. Guess that is because I have already listened to their album and I don't find it to be particular remarkable, not terrible either. Most of their songs revolve around repeating a line, building to something that, most of the time, is not as rewarding as you feel it should had been. They have the tools, now they just need better songs to go with it.

The Twilight Sad was incredibly loud and pretty much the definition of epic. The floor was shaking! The way those guitars swirl and those crescendos... it was a mesmerizing showcase of powerful, and noisy as heck, music that very few bands can even pull off. Great mix of new and old songs in the set list. When they played Cold Days From The Birdhouse, with the singer in the middle of the crowd, it felt special. The only thing missing from them is more stage presence from someone other than the lead singer.

Posted by Anonymous | October 7, 2009 5:45 PM

Here's the setlist as it was written for Friday night:

Doonstairs
Hit Single
Ye Ken
Loud/Quiet
Mooth
Eyes Oot
16 Guys
Sheep Dug
Rabbit
3iii

Photos and review from Tuesday forthcoming...

Posted by Dominick | October 7, 2009 11:18 PM

Interview with We Were Promised Jetpacks after the Brooklyn show on Dear Scotland.

Posted by Anonymous | October 8, 2009 12:44 PM

Notice that the Chinese know how to do a stimulus package, while no one in power seems to know how to do a stimulus package here in the US.

Posted by louis | October 17, 2009 10:26 AM

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