Twilight Sad and Admiral Fallow with the RSNO - Paisley Abbey, Paisley, Mon 14 Oct 2013
A spectacular combination of post-rock, indie-folk, classical and an impressive space for the Spree festival
A vast, hallow space such as the Paisley Abbey isn't exactly your average rock gig venue. However, tonight isn't exactly your average rock gig. As one of the flagship events of Paisley's Spree festival, the concert sees two of Scotland's most respected acts explore their music from a whole new perspective with a little help from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Curator Ally McCrae (of BBC Introducing fame) gives a brief introduction, including a fair attempt at some Gaelic, before inviting dark, post-rock trio The Twilight Sad onto the small, well-lit stage. The band are dwarved by the sheer scale of the abbey, despite having a full symphony orchestra right in front of them. The sound emitted from their collective efforts, however, is nothing short of behemoth. James Graham's dark, ominous vocals echo through the pews during the likes of 'I Became a Prostitute' and 'That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy' as the RSNO bring their moody melodies to life against some rather spectacular lighting setting off the abbey's intricate architecture.
But it's their chamber pop counterparts Admiral Fallow who really take advantage of the orchestra and use the collaboration to its full potential. It helps that the quintet have a much brighter sound, allowing conductor and arranger John Logan the freedom to be more creative and experimental. If The Twilight Sad create a mood of drama and tension, Admiral Fallow are here to get the party started with the uplifting 'Guest of the Government' and a well-executed delivery of 'Subbuteo'.
The dynamics of the orchestra are well controlled too – whether a song requires a huge fanfare or simply some subtle accompaniment, they'll deliver the goods. 'Isn't This World Enough' goes down such a treat and it seems only right to have it performed in such a magnificent space.
After a special a capella rendition of 'Four Bulbs', 'Burn' brings this memorable night to a close, leaving the audience suitably warmed up as they make their way back out to brace the cold October night.
On one hand, it almost seems a shame to waste the opportunity to use this fine building to host more rock gigs in the future. But on the other hand, nights like this would never be as special.