Watching the Twilight Sad play live is always a challenging, if ultimately rewarding experience, such is the wall of sound, orchestrated by guitarist Andy MacFarlane, dueling with the vocal etchings of James Graham. Tonight there is the added ingredient of keyboards that coloured their recently released excellent third LP, 'No One Can Ever Know', giving proceedings a Depeche Mode feel.

Despite the set being used to promote the aforementioned new LP, the guitar still dominates with a crunching 'Kill It in the Morning' opening the evening to great effect. Following the less brutal 'Don't Move', early single 'That Summer At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy', so often a highlight, finds Graham's vocals slightly swamped in the sonic mix.

Thankfully it is a minor blip as a fine 'Dead City' and intense 'I Became a Prostitute' are delivered to menacing effect. Current single 'Sick' and forthcoming single 'Another Bed' show a more melodic side to the band, but it is 'Cold Days From the Birdhouse' that, despite his prowling stage presence, reveals the singer to be as human as you or I when he is reduced to fits of laughter by the cry from a girl in the crowd of "I'll follow you, James" after he sings, "You won't follow me now." It's a wonderful moment.

'And She Would Darken the Memory', arguably one of the Twilight Sad's best songs, doesn't disappoint before the set is concluded with 'At the Burnside' from the band's second LP, 'Forget the Night Ahead'. The Twilight Sad are a thrilling live band. The only question that remains is why are they not playing bigger venues than this.

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Commenting On: Ruby Lounge, Manchester, 10/2/2012 - Twilight Sad

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