The Xcerts - King Tut's, Glasgow, Sun 8 Mar 2009
The Xcerts could be everything you want in a pop rock band: stylish, rhythmic, tight-as-hell and armed with some of the catchiest melodies known to man. The Aberdeen via Brighton trio are becoming young masters of the genre, ultimately destined for national success. The anthemic choruses are ambitious, although impeccably significant in what is an unbelievably enjoyable, albeit short, performance.
The Xcerts channel their alternative rock roots into their buoyant distorted pop songs, with influences ranging from Idlewild to The Police on display throughout. The band sits on the cusp of many different musical styles, which makes them somewhat alluring to so many different people. For a band of such a young age (average of 20) to have developed a sound so broad is fascinating, and just another admirable trait of the trio.
Vocalist Murray MacLeod leads the band through earlier singles such as 'Do You Feel Safe?' and 'Just Go Home', while the ballad-like 'Crisis In The Slow Lane' has the entire audience wailing the lyrics back at the band. The new single, which is very reminiscent of a more pop-friendly Biffy Clyro, combines a slow/fast/slow effect and soaring choruses brilliantly.
The solo rendition of 'Aberdeen 198'7 is inspirational for the fans and band alike, as 300-odd people inside King Tut's lift the roof with chorus backing vocals. You can hear glasses clink at the bar at first as MacLeod’s voice echoes around a silent King Tut's before the chorus brings in vocal accompaniment from 300-odd people declaring 'I’m your new best friend'.
New material portrays the development in songwriting abilities within the band, with 'I See Things Differently' standing out in particular. The climax is deafening, with symbols shattering frenetically and Muse-like improvised guitar riffs pouring from MacLeod’s hands. The effervescent vocalist brings out an additional snare drum in a marching band-esque crescendo before coolly dropping his guitar and drum sticks and walking off stage with a smile as wide as the River Dee itself.
The Xcerts play The Ark, Edinburgh on Sat 28 Mar; Fopp, Glasgow on 31 Mar 2009; 02 Academy, Glasgow, Sat 4 Apr 2009; Hinterland Festival, Glasgow 30 Apr and 1 May