Tonight is a very special night for The Xcerts as lead singer Murray tells the crowd. Years ago the band used to play multiple shows at Water Rats and while they’d drive past the King’s Cross Scala they could only dream of playing a venue like that. Fast forward a few years, a lot of touring and plenty of new music later and it’s a reality. As the swelling sold-out crowd fill every available inch of the venue there’s a great feeling in the air. The feeling of excitement, hard work, and enthusiasm.
Support for tonight’s show came from Brighton’s Big Spring which when we listened in advance we weren’t sure what to expect with elements of grunge due to the vocal effects and then rock and indie infusions. The band was dubbed ‘the best new band in Britain’ by Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter last year and their fifth ever show was Reading and Leeds Festival, a lot of accolade for such a young band. When the four-piece came on stage their sound was massive and frontman Ollie Loring’s vocal range had us just a bit jealous. Some tracks like ‘Cold Feet’ is a throwback to early 90’s grunge rock with it’s thick bassline, but then last year’s single ‘On a Bamboo Sleeping Mat’ has more of an indie edge. Howeever you define the band though there’s no denying that they’re going to be big one day.
The Xcerts have been teetering on the edge of stardom for years, maturing their style, sound, label and hometown to build themselves into the band that they are today. One thing which hasn’t change is their passion for music and their loyal fans who crush the Scala venue. Kicking straight into their set with the urgency of latest single ‘Daydream’ it’s a great introduction to the new chapter of The Xcerts while the crowd go crazy for the band as they push through a 14-song set featuring both old and new numbers. The Xcerts really care as Murray make’s a passionate speech about sexual assault at gigs and it’s refreshing to see them use their musical platform for good reasons.
As the rest of the band depart the stage Murray stands solo to play a slower than normal version of ‘Pop Song’ which really shows off his vocal skills and brings everyone together as the crowd joins in for the chorus. ‘Aberdeen 1987’ arrives as the first song of the encore and really demonstrates the delicate nature to his vocals and despite the fact that the song was never released as a single most of the crowd still know the words.
It isn’t just the slow songs which The Xcerts excel at, faster numbers like ‘Shaking in the Water’ and ‘Feels Like Falling in Love’ shows the trademark anthemic sound of the band. With album number four out in January, we can’t wait to see what the band will accomplish next. All being well Hold On To Your Heart has the making of being the band’s breakthrough record and seeing them headline venues even larger than this.