LIVE REVIEW: The Xcerts, Snake Eyes, Lafayette, London, 05/10/2023
Photo Credit: Jessica Newell/@jnewellphotos – 14th October at Saint Lukes, Glasgow
Following on from the release of their fifth album Learning How To Live And Let Go, The Xcerts headed out on the road to showcase the new material in all its musical glory. Now on the third date of the tour, the band were playing to a bustling Lafayette in London where the atmosphere was electric and that was before a band even took to the stage.
Opening for all the England dates on the tour was grit-pop outfit snake eyes, the trio are notably heavier and louder than tonight’s headliners but received a warm response from the audience who were soon head bopping along showing their support with their heads, hips and faces as instructed. Their grunge-twinged tracks including latest single and self-worth anthem lean, crybaby and scuttlebug followed a tried and tested formula of thrashing guitar lines, hard hitting drum lines (causing actual damage) and singalong dual vocals. Taking things down a slight notch with their take on a love song, another world, it didn’t take long for the whirling instrumental sections to take the crowd back to the distorted world of snake eyes.
This was the band’s first full tour with new bassist Gaby Monaghan, who fitted in and matched the stomping energy of Jim Heffy and driving force of drummer Thomas Coe-Brooker with ease showing them as a solid, musical force to be reckoned with as they bounced around the Lafayette stage. Closing their short yet incredibly sweet set with skeletons, we found ourselves singing along to the ‘we’re all just skeletons’ chorus long after it ended. snake eyes have been a band we’ve kept our eyes on for a while, we’d definitely recommend heading to one of their live dates next month to see just why they’re one of the most exciting, fresh live bands on any line-up right now. 8/10
Now for the main event, one of Scotland’s finest exports The Xcerts. The trio have graced the pages of Bring The Noise for many years and with good reason, thanks to their frequently evolving sound and brilliant live shows with tonight another example of one of these.
Prior to the band stepping out onto stage, a voicemail message filtered through the speakers with vocalist Murray Macleod telling off the experience of letting go of your feelings for someone but the emotions you really experience when going through it. After the slightly questionable start, GIMME throws into action waking up anyone who might not be giving the band their full attention just yet.
Performing as the band themselves explained the longest set they’ve played in a long time; it offered up a little something from those just joining the band on their journey with anthemic singles Jealousy and Blame, those who became hooked on funky past numbers such as Drive Me Wild (with that saxophone section) or those who have been there since their 2009 debut In The Cold Wind We Smile with Crisis in The Slow Lane making a welcomed appearance.
Bringing the chaos with tracks including Car Crash Culture and Live Like This, the slick musicianship and friendship of the trio was highlighted. Whether you were watching Macleod pull out his best moves, Jordan Smith bouncing with a beaming smile on his face or Tom Heron providing the beats whilst still managing to take in the adoring crowd singing every word back; it was impossible for their happy energy to not filter into the crowd’s experience.
The calm came during intimate, stripped back moments such as Everything I Cannot Live Without as Macleod took centre stage with a guitar to sing the emotionally charged track with Heron and Smith watching on. From the spotlight on Macleod to the spotlight on the crowd during Aberdeen 1987 and Hold On To Your Heart as the crowd took vocal lead, to perform their duties nearly pitch perfectly whilst overpowering the sounds from onstage. Yes, The Xcerts might not be selling out arenas just yet (we can’t understand it either…) but with a supportive fanbase by their side the whole way who knows where they’ll be going during this album cycle.
The trio took time to interact with the crowd, whether giving personal insights into standout moments on the tour so far (the golf crowd vibe which Southampton gave off during the opening night) and stories behind tracks including new album fan favourite It Ain’t Easy. For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to head to a tour date, long story short Macleod opened up about an experience during lockdown in which best friend Jordan (Smith) really came through in the time of need which led to an internal argument with members of the Eagles about Take It Easy, during a time where things really weren’t easy for anyone and here we welcome It Ain’t Easy! Met with a chant for Smith and then for Heron to make sure nobody was getting left out; it became a set highlight with a hint of humour and plenty of emotion all round. Throughout the night, there were moments of pure vocal bliss where Macleod’s vocals stood out for all the right reasons, showing the work which has been put into getting into the best vocal shape for this run and this striped back number was an example of this.
Anyone who has listened to or even just read about their latest album will know the band have been experimenting since 2018’s Hold On To Your Heart, and embracing their inner popstar ways further on this album with Lovesick. Complete with L-O-V-E-S-I-C-K chant, this sugary sweet number when combined with set closer Feels Like Falling In Love sent the band out on a high to a resounding choir of cheers.
Learning how to live and let go isn’t always easy, but tonight The Xcerts helped by providing an incredibly special night of live music for the Lafayette audience where everything outside of the venue began to feel like a distant memory even if only for a short while. The Xcerts are one of those bands who consistently excel live and luckily it seems that this was just the first touring run for their new album, so if we were you, we’d start learning the lyrics now in preparation for future live shows! 9/10
Written By: Nicola Craig