Brummie legends play a sold out intimate acoustic set at Glasgow’s Saint Luke’s.
On a cold Sunday evening in Glasgow The Twang took to the stage of Saint Luke’s and kicked off their ‘A Month Of Sundays’ tour.
This was a night of firsts; my first time seeing The Twang live, and also my first time attending a seated gig. I’ll admit that initially I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t get to experience one of Birmingham’s most renowned bands to full effect, and I apparently wasn’t the only one as every couple of songs someone shouted “play ‘Cloudy Room’”. But the bonus was the setting of the gig attracted a more mature audience. I can’t recall a single other live experience where I’ve not been drenched by flying pints and left the venue with temporary hearing loss and a few bruises, so this evening was a welcomed change of pace!
The opening act for the evening was Glasgow singer-songwriter Mark McGowan who wowed the crowd from the word go with his folk infused set and infectious bluesy vocals. His performance was very well received by the sizeable audience filling out the seats in the old church venue, an all-round brilliant act with heaps of talent who I hope to see again in the near future.
After a quick trip to the bar, we made our way back to our seats to catch the headliners. The chiming opening riffs of ‘Barney Rubble’ set the tone for the evening; an ode to a failing relationship this has been one of my favourite tracks since a friend recommended it. I’ve always thought it works better as an acoustic track, and this rendition proved my point with its simplicity and beautiful guitar melodies. Easily my favourite moment of the set, Phil Etheridge’s vocal delivery was tender yet there was a roughness to his voice that made it more ‘real’. By the time he reached the first soaring chorus everyone was clapping along in high spirit.
Next the psychedelic summery strums of ‘Beer, Wine and Sunshine’ told a tale of sorrow and love, somehow making rejection seem romantic. This song never really clicked with me before, but after experiencing the infectious melodies and floating vocals in person the track has now made its way to the top of my ‘On Repeat’ Spotify playlist. The next track ‘It Feels Like’ was taken from album number 5 and picked up the pace a bit. I love the lyrics to this track, romantic and clever it really doesn’t get enough love, and the carefree guitar and breezy vocals seemed to match the lyrical content perfectly.
As soon as Phil referenced the burgundy scarf draped around his mic and Ash picked up his harmonica, we knew it was time for ‘Amsterdam’. For me this track has always been about escapism and nostalgia; folky harmonica and crooning vocals take me back to hazy holidays wandering around the Netherland’s capital. It’s impossible to listen to without a smile on your face! The euphoric ‘We’re A Crowd’ was also a high point. The band had everyone joining in the chants of ‘this is our town and we live here’, and similarly the familiar rhythms ‘Wide Awake’ also proved to be a crowd-pleaser. You could really hear the passion in Phil’s gnarled vocals as he was singing this sweet stripped back version of one of their biggest hits.
Elsewhere the guitar work of ‘Dream’ delivered Stone Roses vibes and brilliant groove, another brilliant underrated Twang track. The band’s biggest hit ‘Either Way’ was always going to be special but the group delivered an absolutely gorgeous slowed down heart-bursting performance that won’t be soon forgotten. Phil’s softly spoken vocals over the gently strummed acoustic guitar was untouchable, truly one of the best love songs ever written and I won’t hear otherwise. Next a mellow cover of Van Bran 3000’s ‘Drinking In LA’ with Ash on keys made for an atmospheric moment. The song suits their sound to a T, a truly brilliant cover.
As the set drew to a close the sweetly strummed guitar of ‘Two Lovers’ was another highpoint. The jangly guitar track is a Smiths-style ballad that had the crowd eating up every word. Lastly an exhilarating sing-a-long of ‘Took The Fun’ ended the evening on a high note. Every single person in the audience stood up, arm in arm, singing and dancing along to a moment of pure joy.
An enjoyable evening overall, I’d strongly suggest checking out the Month Of Sunday’s tour to see the other side of The Twang. The lovely backing vocals from Cat Mctigue and Ash Sheehan’s cinematic trumpet performance added another layer to the group’s sound and truly made it a special performance. Massive thanks to The Twang and Mark McGowan for a lovely evening in a mature and intimate setting.