Call me Russ L

You Twang, M’lud?

Posted in Music by Russ L on 29 May, 2007

Although there are lots of reasons for one to be happy to see local bands doing well and a fair few of them are genuinely nice and altruistic, it’d be a lie to pretend that ‘bragging rights’ doesn’t loom large. The phrase “I saw them before they were famous” needs only to pass your lips and you’ll see that adoring crowds of rapt listeners will gather at your feet. “Of course, I prefer the earlier stuff…”

Whether or not you keep your tales of gig-going daring-do within jabbing range of the truth is a matter for your own conscience. I did see Editors, for example, back when they were still called Snowfield (I still think that’s a far better name, incidentally), but only about the last song of their set. Despite always meaning to see them again, a long time passed before I actually did, and the hype was already around them by that point. They were already bona-fide stars by the third time I saw them, and there the total still stands.

Can I redeem myself with The Twang? Well, not really. I’d read and heard a few interesting things about them and made sure I caught them when they played as part of a free alldayer at The Sanctuary in March 2006, but despite mightily enjoying their set I fell foul of the same trap and didn’t quite get around to seeing them again for a long time. The hype set in, gigs sold out, and it wasn’t until this current May 2007 that I managed to get a ticket (for The Wulfrun Hall in Wolverhampton, one of the two local gigs they’re playing this month. The other is at The Sanctuary in Digbeth – where I saw them the first time around. The more things change…)

On another ‘bragging rights’ tangent, maybe this is the point to mention that I predicted the still-growing backlash. I called it, baby. I don’t suppose I can take too much credit, though; it was always more likely than anything else.

The gig, anyway. I got there in time for the last couple of songs by openers The Harrisons, who played a straight-ahead indie-punk sort of thing. I can’t say I really liked the bit I saw, but I got the feeling that perhaps I could like them. Maybe. Dogs were the doggies-in-the-middle and bored me with their Razorlight-ish stuff. There wasn’t really much to see on the support band front at this one.

One interesting thing about The Twang at this gig was that they seemed to be genuinely happy. The previous time I saw them, they were overflowing with attitude. At this gig, it was all “We’re so happy that so many people have turned up.” “We were in The Little Civic a few months ago, so this means so much to us” your man confessed at one point, and I can understand that. It’s rare that bands become more pleasant with fame, and worth noting. The actual performance was similar enough, although they can now afford dry ice. And lots of it. The three instrument players (including the bassplayer who just doesn’t look the part next to the rest of them) hang back in the mist, while the singer and the backing singer/Bez-type take the limelight and press forward.

Highlights would include their lairy opening with “The Neighbour” (probably my favourite Twang song. I’m still not convinced it works as a story, but it’s a great song), and it had never quite dawned on me just how sweet ‘Either Way’ is before this. Bless it.

A hugely fun set.



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