Monday, February 26, 2024

The Xcerts at The Garage, London

With a supporting tour, a headlining tour, and dates in between, The Xcerts have not only kept themselves busy, but everyone else involved, including the fans. Tonight, they’re headlining tour reaches The Garage in London, and it’s obvious that the dedicated fans have gathered. But no fan looks alike. These days, it’s rare to see the older and younger generation combined at shows, but the Xcerts’ appeal seems to travel across generations.

Opening with ‘Daydream’ from their iconic Hold Onto Your Heart album, the rockers waste no time in introducing us to their sound; a pop-punk yet Tom Petty inspired fusion of soft rock, equipped with shout-a-long lyrics and a catchy beat. Vocalist Murray Macleod even takes fashion inspiration from Tom, making tight white jeans look almost comfortable, as he dances across the stage. Their energy flows through the entire venue, electrocuting people into action. ‘Drive Me Wild’ lives up to its name and drives the crowd into a frenzy. Another popular song ‘We Are Gonna Live’ follows, introducing us to guitarist, Jordan Smith’s, impressive backing vocals.

Although just released, ‘Ready To Call’ receives the same support and fanfare as any of their old songs, which shows the dedication of the fan base. If on the rare chance someone wasn’t mouthing the lyrics, they were quickly aided by Macleod, who led the crowd in a sing-a-long. ‘Show Me Beautiful’ shows Macleod’s true vocal ability as he drags out every last note, making the song last a while, but, at the same time, not long enough. A piano is brought out, and again, the pure talent of Macleod and Smith is highlighted, as they jam in unison for ‘The Dark.’ It’s an intimate performance that seems more fitted for a real garage, not the massive stage of The Garage, but they manage to fill it. ‘Crazy’ has the room clapping along crazily, knowing the drumbeat before drummer, Tom Heron, even has time to lay down the second beat.

They do not neglect their earlier releases for long, diving into ‘Slackerpop,’ a song to make everyone dance, if they weren’t already. There is no time for rest as new single, ‘You Mean Everything’ is next, and that means more jumping, before the place is brought back down by ‘Real Love,’ an emotional acoustic performance. Everyone is silent, probably dumbstruck once again by Macleod’s incredible singing ability. It’s almost as if even mouthing the words would disrupt the performance. Audience participation becomes high again, though, with ‘Hold Onto Your Heart.’

The band then disappears, leaving Macleod alone and armed with an acoustic guitar for a raw performance of ‘Aberdeen 1987.’ Afterward, he tries to disappear, too, but the crowd want more, and that is what they’re given. With beer in hand, they embrace the English culture before performing ‘There Is Only You’ and making the entire place feel special and serenaded and bringing back ‘Shaking in the Water,‘ which has everyone shaking with restless energy. Of course, they literally end on a high note with Macleod’s acapella notes in ‘Feels Like Falling In Love,’ and the crowd singing unaided.

Although the set was majorly new songs, the band acknowledge the 10th anniversary of ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile,’ and promise to play it in its entirety on their next tour. Macleod also promises two new albums. Perhaps, 2019 will be the year we hear a lot from the Xcerts, or we have permission to call Murray a dickhead. So it is a win-win situation either way.

Regan Harle
Regan Harle
Just a student with far too much free time on their hands, and over 13,000 songs on their phone.

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