Twin Peaks are the self-described “band on permanent vacation.” Last time they vacationed in Glasgow they had a rambunctious time. Touring 2014’s sophomore effort ‘Wild Onion’, they played a headline show at The Garage on Sauchiehall St, not far from tonights location.
This time round, Twin Peaks find themselves in the UNESCO city of Music on a day of the year directly devoted to music: Record Store Day 2016, though the band are not involved in any of the days happenings around the city. For their latest Glasgow show, they play Stereo on Renfield Lane, an intimate under-bar venue in the heart of the city centre, and a regular stomp house for underground guitar music from all across the globe. They are supported by London’s Thee MVPS. The Chicagoans third album ‘Down in Heaven’ will be released May 13th, and while they have released album tracks ‘Walk To The One You Love’ and ‘Butterfly’, tonight heralds Scotland’s first glimpse of more to come from the newest LP.
As the show commences, their is a tension in the room flowing between band members and audience. One gets the sense the band may have been arguing before taking to the stage, though this does not stop Twin Peaks from playing a blisteringly soul-satisfying set, brimming with energy, raw power, and all the qualities that justify guitar music as a relevant, forward-moving entity in 2016. Cadien Lake James appears more somber than usual – though only when not actually performing – and Clay Frankel a little more on edge, proclaiming to the crowd “Pass all the drugs up to the front of the stage” before the they kick off with opener ‘Stand In The Sand’ from first album Sunken. The crowd descends into madness at the front, and at the close of the song the crowd is encouraged to move to the very front of the room – there is no stage barrier and line of security guards, so Twin Peaks take advantage of the ability for intimacy.
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Bassist Jack Dolan proclaims “This song is about smoking lots of weed”, tongue-placed-firmly-in-cheek, before the band launch into ‘Flavour’ from sophomore album Wild Onion. “Flavour your heart and your soul.” To this end, Twin Peaks rolling papers were available for purchase from the merch stand, and their official twitter proclaimed after the Glasgow gig before the band headed on to Manchester for their next show: “MANCHESTER! We are coming for you tomorrow but are running out of weed! S.O.S. !! love you all”
A beach ball knocks back and forth between the stage and the band before they become a little bit frustrated, though all in good humour. Frankel whips out a hand blade, set his eyes wide and tells the crowd to pass the ball back to the stage, before chirping a boyish laugh and putting it away. In some sense the band seem a little frustrated with the overly drunk front of crowd, which is understandable as the beach volleyball passes the point of a joke to becoming a potential performance hinderer by the 5th time its smashed off of bassist Dolan’s guitar. In fact the Glasgow crowd may have done little to impress the Twin Peaks dudes, Dolan tweeting after the gig “these little Scottish kids stole our bowl from the green room.”
Frankel draws the most eyes throughout the night; a strange energy about him as he rolls around on their floor thrashing his guitar, licking its neck mid-riff, and altogether giving off an air of being possessed, but by some good-natured and humorous spirit rather than something dark. For a second he looks like Albert Hammond Jr.
The show is a typical success for the Chicago rock’n’roll band. The unheard songs from upcoming album ‘Down In Heaven’ are received warmly, tracks ‘Butterfly’ and ‘Walk to The One You Love’ are a sheer delight to see live after incessant listening since they were teased earlier in the year, and already established Twin Peaks classics like ‘Making Breakfast’, ‘Boomers’ and ‘Strawberry Smoothie’ all confirm the bands undeniable power and brilliance. Whatever tension was potentially apparent at the start of the set could only be the result of brotherly love; as the show flows on with no tangible issue, and the band deliver a truly inspiring example of how to be a great live act. In terms of brotherly band camaraderie, the show sees every member of the band except drummer Connor Brodner contributing to singing, though his sheer-powerhouse drumming wouldn’t allow for that kind of double-tasking. Even newer member Colin Croom takes the lead vocal for a track, and Twin Peaks music benefits from these varied vocal personalities both live and on record, and make the band appear like a multi-headed beast.
Twin Peaks continue their European tour throughout the remainder of April, and will play shows in London, Paris and Madrid.
‘Down in Heaven’ is released 13th May via Communion.
This Twin Peaks article was written by Adam Skirving, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson.