Are you into loud and mournful music sung with a wonderfully thick Scottish accent? I am. So I was pleased as punch to be able to see The Twilight Sad at The Independent in San Francisco last week. This was the third time I’ve been able to catch this haunting band. I first happened upon their dark and brooding wall of sound back in 2008, sandwiched between fellow Scots, We Were Promised Jet Packs, and Frightened Rabbit. I was mesmerized by singer James Graham’s otherworldly performance at that first show and at every show since.
The band has a new album out, “No One Can Ever Know.” It was great to hear so much of the bands new synth-heavy material punctuating their more guitar-heavy older catalog. It gave and ebb and flow to the set. For me, the highlight was the gut-wretching 1-2 punch of Reflections of The Television followed by I Became a Prostitute. My two new favorites, Nil and Another Bed were fantastic live as well. Graham’s disembodied twitching delivery makes me of what it must have been like to see Ian Curtis perform with Joy Division at the start of the post-punk era. I’ve decided that subconsciously, that’s why I always feel compelled to process my Twilight Sad pictures in stark black and white.
I was feeling pretty good after an evening of great music, but after chatting with James after the show, I was on cloud nine. Turns out my 2008 portrait of James is a favorite of his father’s. Come to find out his father was at the show (all the way from Scotland) and James brought him round and introduced me, and with just a slight bit of shyness, consented to a quick father son portrait.
The Twilight Sad are wrapping up their month-long US tour this week with a marathon of shows at SXSW this week.