The band’s last LP was named Opposites, which is quite a fitting introduction with anyone unfamiliar with their work here in the USA. Founded in Kilmarnock, Scotland, the band released their debut long player in 2002 and gradually built up a reputation in the UK as a solid rock band. A deft hand at songwriting and extensive touring didn’t harm their cause, either. They now headline venues such as Wembley Arena (attendance approx. 12,000) in London, and headline occasions such as the Reading/Leeds Festival.
On the other side of the pond, specifically in Los Angeles since 2007, they have played in support of Editors, played at The Troubadour and played Coachella. Their set time at Coachella in 2013 was at 2:25pm, and they were not able to play all the songs they wished. As you can see, their experiences in the US and Europe are quite opposites.
Cue Valentine’s Day 2014. Could they rekindle any feelings while playing at the El Rey? The answer, emphatically, was yes. Playing to a packed house compromised of all ages, the band blasted through a 20-song set list, going as far back as their debut LP (57), though leaning heavily on their more recent material– “Spanish Radio,” “Black Chandelier” and “Biblical” were among the best-received songs of the night all from the aforementioned double-LP Opposites.
While their more recent offerings are more akin to lighters-in-the-air moments, the band knows how to rock and some of the heavier numbers. “Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies” and “That Golden Rule” were enthusiastically lapped up; all ages at the front of the venue jumped, pushed and sang along vociferously. Some fans even brought along, and used, bubble machines for the song Bubbles.
All three band members played the entire gig shirtless, as is their tradition, and one didn’t need binoculars to see just how hard the band were working for their plaudits, vocalist Simon Neil positively dripping sweat by the end of the fourth song onwards. The levels of energy didn’t ebb throughout, and though they ripped through twenty songs. By the end of the night, you got the feeling they would have happily played another ten. The crowd wouldn’t have minded.
They may just, finally, have their feet wedged in the door of America.
That Golden Rule
Who’s Got a Match?
Sounds Like Balloons
God and Satan
Glitter and Trauma
Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies
Many of Horror
Modern Magic Formula