Tag Archives: Sam McTrusty

Backstage adventures with the wasp ninja

If anyone wants to read the formal review I did of Redfest, you can pick it up on Gigjunkie, which is the lovely live music site I often write for. In that review I got into detail about the bands we saw and the atmosphere of the festival but I know that’s not what y’all want to hear about.  So this little memoir of the festival is all about being a backstage virgin.

On arrival at Redfest (pathetically hungover and out of love with life on my part) we discovered that there was no “press area” and that the only option other than “general festivalgoer” was a full backstage pass, which Paul and I were granted with barely a glance at the list. In fact they initially seemed to think we were in a band called Gigjunkie and asked us what day we were playing on.

It took us a while to actually pluck up the courage to go backstage out of fear that we would stick out like sore thumbs and possibly embarrass ourselves… but there’s only so long you can resist the lure of possibly clean toilets (although that turned out to be a pipe dream).

We sat around for a while drinking cans of Red Stripe, which were considerably cheaper than the beer available in the festival, and gawking at the shininess of the Enter Shikari tour bus before Sam McTrusty of Twin Atlantic came loping over for a cuddle and a chat. It was a bittersweet reunion. I always love seeing Sam. He’s impossibly charming and open and even if I wasn’t wholly obsessed with his band, he’s just fun to hang out with. However, it was him who ended up breaking the news to me that my other favourite band, Envy On The Coast, is no more. I mentioned in a previous blog the connections between the bands and my connection to EOTC and hearing that I’ll never get to see them perform again was a massive blow. Although I suppose if you have to hear that your favourite band has split up the best person you could get the news from is probably the front man of your other favourite band.

It was at this point that we realised that knowing one of the bands means that everyone assumes you’re important and one of the “gang” that includes journos, photographers, brand reps, crew and of course musicians. With Sam sitting with us we got chatting to everyone from the festival organisers to the head of marketing for Fender to eventually Chris from Enter Shikari.  And once they started treating us like one of them, we just acted like we belonged. After all I had a notebook and pen and Paul had a camera, of course we belonged. People gave us their cards and asked us our opinions… in between Sam attempting to karate chop all of the wasps that kept descending on our table. It all gets a bit hazy because the Red Stripe was flowing like water but in the end we even netted an invite to the Enter Shikari after show tour bus party. But after two days on the lash and the 4000 photos Paul took, bed was calling.

Day 2 was significantly more subdued. Twin Atlantic and Enter Shikari were gone and I had reached a level of lethargy that creeps in when you’re almost thirty and you haven’t had an opportunity to lie on the couch and contemplate the meaning of life for a number of days. Several of the friends we’d made the day before recognised us though and we ended up being adopted by a raucous band of barristers who were backstage for reasons yet unknown, and kept us in stitches for most of the evening.

I think Paul fared slightly better than I did, chatting pretty much every band that played on the day, including the ridiculously cool, Little Comets, who I have intentions of adopting. But in the end we were both agreed, beyond a shadow of a doubt that backstage is where we’re meant to be…

All photos kindly courtesy of the lovely Paul Osbiston

The day the music died…

Paul and I finally found our great musical divide this weekend. After almost five months of tootling along believing we had reached the holy grail of total musical and personal harmony it all fell apart at Brixton Academy in the face of The Gaslight Anthem.

I love The Gaslight Anthem. I think their bluesy, Springsteen-tinged brand of rock is really infectious. So I was super excited about seeing them live, particularly following their set at Reading last year. It turned out I was alone in my excitement on Saturday since Paul found them boring and generic and way to MOR for his liking. I guess I found it kind of hard to get caught up and in the end the set didn’t blow me away either. The rest of the audience seemed to be loving it though so maybe I was just letting a little bit of Paul’s apparent lack of enthusiasm rub off on me. Not that I’m blaming him… if you don’t like something, you don’t like it!

Fortunately, the always superb Twin Atlantic opened and the buzz from seeing them live normally lasts days, never mind hours. Sam and the boys were in fine form and had no problem winning over the early arrivers, including my naysaying boyfriend, who branded them “brilliant”. We also had the fortune of getting to hang out with Sam and Ross after the show. As always Sam was happy to see me and informed me that I am (fortunately) nowhere near their creepiest stalker fan. I ended up chatting to him about Envy On The Coast, who they recently toured the States with, and the infamous unfinished novel… and he asked me for my email address so that Ryan (EOTC’s singer and primary lyricist) could get in touch with me to talk about it… how fricking cool would that be?

Do you come here often?

Last night Fi, Werner and I went to see the incomparable Twin Atlantic at the Barfly in Camden. I have to start this post by thanking both my gig buddies for the night for letting me talk them into seeing a band they’d never heard of. From the reaction though, I can pretty much guarantee that they were not sorry that they had agreed to the outing.

We arrived just in time to catch the end of Me My Head’s set. They are definitely a band that warrants more time and attention. They’re channelling a powerful Smithesque 80’s sound with an oddly Placebo-ey feel and vocalist, Charlie Moss, has a voice that you cannot forget. In particular check out upcoming single, Nights On Fire.

In between sets, a lovely young Glaswegian, chap called Colin decided we should be his friends. Since he was absolutely charming, it seemed like a perfectly logical decision to make. However, when his girlfriend reappeared from going for a smoke, she commenced with giving all of us the evils with such malicious intent that in the end poor Colin skulked back off to his corner. I have no idea why she took such a violent dislike to us but her demeanour throughout the entire gig was of desperately wanting to escape. Poor Colin…

Twin Atlantic were, as always, ridiculously epic. Their passion for their music is so tangible that you feel instantly more alive the moment you are in their presence. It is impossible to describe them as anything other than a rock frenzy that is a little bit Biffy, a little KOL, a smidgen of Audioslave and a whole lot of joy. Despite a myriad of technical difficulties that culminated in Sam losing his vocal mic for Crash Land and being forced to continue acapella accompanied by those of us who knew the words, they played with everything they had. Sam has actually shaved and had a haircut and is looking lush, however I think he could still benefit from some serious sandwiches and many large cuddles. Also glad to say all the twitching is back. There was a point where I was convinced he was grinning at me as I sang along. I may or may have been wrong but more about that later. The set ended with a bit of guitar abuse by both Sam and Ross, much to Werner’s chagrin since he seemed to have thought Sam should have given his Fender Strat to him rather than hammering it into the stage. Pics are here… and this is a little bit of the Sam for the laydees.

twinatlanticlook-mum-ive-shaved

Werner, Fi and I decided to venture into the downstairs bar for a little indie jamming and we were revving it up to The Cure, Blondie… and well… Bloc Party, when we ran into Sam. Adoration was passed around particularly from me and I mentioned that I had seen them five times, at which point he smiled sweetly at me and said, “I know. I recognise you.” I can’t explain how that touched me. And then he thanked me for bringing new friends to see them. As a serious gig enthusiast, having a member of one of your favourite bands, acknowledging your dedication pretty much tops everything!

Unfortunately I had to leave at 12. Tattoos must be washed so last trains must be caught. Fi and Werner stayed on to party… hope you had an awesome time, kids.

Audience and audio

Last night Barb, Hilton and I braved the cold and went to the Barfly in Camden to see my wee Glaswegian favourites, Twin Atlantic.

First on for the evening we had Haunts. I really liked them. They reminded me of a slightly less dancey Head Automatica. In fact I was surprised by how much their vocalist sounded like Daryl Palumbo. Big props to their bassist who was playing his guitar with serious power despite being so skinny. It gave their sound a richness and intensity that they would have otherwise lacked.

After that we had the majestically tattooed This City. They brought a lot of noise and spirit and I’ve seen far worse bands but their vocalist had talkingitis and their songs had a tendency to become repetitive within the song. Guys, unless you want to grow up to be the Foo Fighters, there is no need to get stuck on three words and repeat them for the last two minutes of the song. They definitely have potential though since they’re extremely solid musically. I do kind of wonder if they should just let their bassist sing though. On the occasions that he took over from the lead vocalist, he actually sounded better than him.

And then… Twin Atlantic. I am pretty sure they are impossible not to love. They just bring such immense passion and commitment onto the stage. There is no doubt that there is nowhere else on earth that they would rather be than that stage at that particular moment. We got a whole bunch of new songs, which were absolutely rocking and made me stupidly excited for the new album. As well as all the old favourites. Sam seems to have toned down the twitching (much to my disappointment) but he still has the crazy eyes and the insane screeching. He really does need to brush his hair though. He is looking progressively more hobosexual. My highlight had to be Crash Land, which I could listen to on repeat for days. The show ended with Sam hurling himself into the audience still holding his guitar.

This is how I like my rock… intimate, dirty and dangerous. You can keep your stadiums, give me the Barfly.

Check out this little snap I took of the man himself. How could you not love that smile? Remaining pics here.

Sam McTrusty

You are so cool, you are so rock ‘n roll

Last night I went to see The Subways at Brixton Academy with Josh and his sister, Schwea.

We arrived halfway through the first act. I can’t tell you what they were called because they weren’t on the bill anywhere online and I don’t think they told us their own band name. Anyway, they weren’t terrible but they certainly weren’t good either. I got the feeling that the band hadn’t been playing together long because each of them seemed to be playing their own song. There was no indication that any of them even knew that the others were onstage. Musically they were sound, I suppose, but zero chemistry and their singer was doing a very, very poor Matt Bellamy impersonation. For shame!

Next up were my little Glaswegian favourites, Twin Atlantic. Poor Sam is looking more and more dishevelled every time I see them. He is borderline Bert McCracken at the moment. I did like his purple jeans though. Definitely bringing sandwiches and soap to the next gig. They were initially very clearly nervous but their intense energy and powerful connection with each other was very welcome after the first act. I am totally in love with their new stuff, particularly Crash Land (which you can see below) and apparently they will record their first full-length album in January. Once they got into their stride, they were as wonderful as ever and A Guidance From Colour was, as always, mesmerising.

While we waited for The Subways, I popped to the loo. On the way back I had to wrangle my way through quite a tightly packed crowd and at one point I was right up against this guy who leaned forward and whispered, “you’re a sexual predator” into my ear. Riiiiight. I just stared at him so he said, “it’s gotten weird hasn’t it?” So I said well that is the weirdest thing anyone has ever said to me in a crowd. His response was to growl at me. The retreat was beaten hastily.

If anyone is an inherent natural rock star, it is Billy Lunn. He strode out shirtless and with barely a wave of his hand lifted the entire audience into his palm and kept them there for the full set. He demanded serious crowd participation and we gave it adoringly, freely. It was only fair since he, Charlotte and Josh gave up everything in their performance. There was a lot of “cocky” posturing and strutting that would normally be very irritating but when you are as cool as Billy is, you can do pretty much whatever the hell you like and still make everyone wish they were onstage with you. Their hyperactive set felt pitifully too short and when they stopped pre-encore everyone was a bit stunned. The encore was awesome. Barry from Twin Atlantic came on to lend his cello stylings to Strawberry Blonde to chants of “Barry! Barry!” from the audience. Of course they closed with a riotous rendition of Rock ‘n Roll Queen and everyone left feeling like they had rocked out with their cock out. I have a little video of Oh Yeah for all of you and the photos are here.

With that I bid you adieu. I am off to South Africa this evening and I won’t be back until the 27th. Don’t miss me too much.