The Georgian Theatre, Stockton-On-Tees, 25-02-18
Support: Airways, The Yada Yada Yadas
The Xcerts new record (Hold On To Your Heart) was a pleasant surprise to the Pop-Rock scene. It wasn’t as heavy as their older music they’ve previously released and it’s a love song to bridge somewhere between that 70’s and 80’s nostalgia. Tonight, it was time to see what they were made of. They’re at The Georgian Theatre in Stockton-on-Tees and it’s the first time they’ve been up here since their less than stellar set when they opened for Mallory Knox in Middlesbrough, it’s safe to say that crowd just didn’t appreciate them back then. It was going to be especially tough on their lead vocalist Murray Macleod as well because of stomach problems in-between songs as well but that just shows how much this man loves the music as well as his fans.
To kick off was The Yada Yada Yadas. They fit in well with The Xcerts, probably because they sound quite similar to them but unlike the headliners, never hit that top gear. They’re a band from up here in the North East as well so you can give them this experience because they were actually decent where they did leave an impression on some people but would I recommend them? Yes.
On the other hand, Airways were better than most support groups. The atmosphere somewhat helped them build on their performance but they were lacking in those harder tracks to win more people over, which is a shame because they seemed better than they were. During the set though there were some slight technical difficulties which involved a faulty guitar cable which needed switching out cost the band about two minutes of their set. From here, it was a little harder for them to win more people over but by the end of their set, one or two people seemed coming around again.
Onto the headliners themselves, The Xcerts. They stormed in with a vengeance, racing through their material to applause from the audience. One thing I do have to say is that there were more people in attendance than I thought. I had a quick chat with their bassist after and he was pleasantly surprised as well. One thing you have to keep in mind is that bands sometimes play somewhere to thirty people one night and the next could be a sold-out show, you just never know what to expect these days. But it was a pretty mellow and solid set to say the least. There were more smooth jams off the new record to get everyone into the grove and older tracks such as ‘I Don’t Care’ helped win over the more rocky listeners in the audience tonight.
It wasn’t difficult to top their support slot for Mallory Knox in 2015 at The Empire in Middlesbrough. This is simply because I calmly say they’re 100% better now. It’s a more matured performance and they’re proving a set to the people who really want to listen to them. The band just feeds off each other’s energy in a way that just compliments them to bring the performance back to some great energy.
During their set, what surprised me the most was how beautiful some of these tracks are live. The grooves such as the title track for the record, ‘Hold On To Your Heart’ and another such as ‘Daydream’ are absolutely beautiful to witness in person. It’s fantastic to see these guys progress not only live but also musically with the record after their 2014 record, ‘There Is Only You’.
With their next steps though, it could be the ones which will truly make or break them. It’s clear from their performance that The Xcerts are a fantastic group but given everything in their performance; Emotion, Dedication and huge sounding Spirits, will it be enough for them to go big or go home?
The Yada Yada Yadas