Review of Twin Atlantic who returned to Inverness Ironworks for a 10th anniversary performance of their album Free
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REVIEW: Twin Atlantic: 10th anniversary of Free
Did we all feel a little bit left behind by Twin Atlantic?
At the Ironworks even as they obligingly sang through the album that kind of started it all off, for us and them – Free – you knew exactly where this emotional Inverness return was going to end up on Wednesday night…
At the biggest anthem of all, of course.
And already, champing at the bit like a big horse pawing the ground in sparks, was the very shiveringly exciting prospect of what Twin Atlantic will do with the album that comes next was in the sweaty air and it found you shaking in your shoes.
You forgot they sounded this big, didn’t you?
Yes, Ironworks, me too.
But even as the crowd learned to use their voices to redesign a singalong as a weapon of mass destruction, the 10th anniversary gig for Free was welding the band’s Inverness audience back into place in front of them.
But had they ever really been away – either in their hearts or trapped in lockdown reality?
As the night unfolded, the set – the songs of Free, an open secret on both sides – played out as a reminder of how special that album was.
The opening Edit Me got a bit lost in the dramatic white smoke and reflecting light, with the sound a welcomely euphoric mush gradually evolving into Barry McKenna on guitar, Sam McTrusty on guitar and vocals, Ross McNae on bass and the new drummer replacing Craig Kneale, intoduced for the gig as just “Joe”.
Big moments in the set came with Yes, I Was Drunk – crowd singing and clapping and Sam doing his air traffic control crowd clapping instructions. Crash Land was a breathing space with Barry on cello, Sam on acoustic guitar. But Free – no surprise here, was just enormous. Eight Days went all the way into a rising tsunami of sound, into Wonder Sleeps Here into We Want Better, Man – a song to make a politician quake in their shoes, even the volume with which the front bellowed ‘Get a f**ing grip!’
After Free, Sam began to speak, explaining after No Sleep from GLA opened the second section of the night: “I wasn’t talking before because we were playing the album from start to finish.”
And he threatened now to reveal his “diva a**hole”.
Ross had picked the song Hold On from Great Divide, Sam told us – and it was a perfect spot for that you found yourself thinking as the place erupted.
“Come on Inverness, baby, give it to me!” teased Sam finding the crowd bending to his every whim.
But maybe the reward came when he said, caringly: “How are you feeling now? It’s hard to believe this true fact – this is our 11th time here. I don’t think when we started the band we thought 11 weeks, let alone 11 years. But these years coming up north …
“By the way, this doesn’t happen everywhere, people don’t make us feel this good, this is special, Pretty special.”
He teased maybe Glasgow did.
And he had another fascinating true fact.
“This is the first sellout show at the venue since the pandemic,”the frontman told the audience, just before he said: “That’s a sign of hope, let’s join these last two songs together!”
Brothers & Sisters and Heart & Soul made a perfect ending for a crowd already on fire. The songs come not just with big tunes to thump your car steering-wheel to in the privacy of your own car, but some lines you could probably spend the rest of your life thinking about … “There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer/ So where are you now?”.
But if you could have had a decibel measure on all those voices as the Ironworks chimed in with the last verses of the night, Heart & Soul – surely it would have been a venue record?
You could even imagine the sound floating up through the night outside, little needles on NASA sonic dials juddering slightly at the volume change somewhere in the universe.
“Open up your heart and your soul/Take my heart and never grow old,” the crowd kept singing.
A couple of times Sam protested that he was getting too old for this – he lay on his back when returning to the stage from his cross-audience float out across them. But in that last song, he was still leaping waist-high, as it was time to remind the crowd it wasn’t the end.
“Have a safe rest of the week,” he closed the gig.
“See you for number 12!” MC