Friday, October 5, 2007

Twilight Sad @ Empty Bottle

Shy, sarcastic Scots' set is brief but blistering

"I haven't got any funny stories. I'm not a funny person. So let's play another emo song." – James Graham.

Glasgow's the Twilight Sad are very happy to be in Chicago. Singer James Graham said it several times during the course of their blistering 45-minute set at Empty Bottle -- and even though his deadpan delivery can easily be mistaken for sarcasm, you could tell he meant it. In sharp contrast to his stoic in-between-song banter, he bore the entirety of the set's energy as if feeding off his barely swaying counterparts.

Opening with "Cold Days from the Birdhouse," it was Graham's vocal, in heavy Scottish brogue, that soared above the droning guitar and bass loops, calling everyone to attention. Preferring to face the sides of the stage as opposed to the front, he still held everyone in captivation, lurching over his mic stand and occasionally stamping it to the ground for emphasis.

They blazed through most of Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, "Walking for Two Hours" and "And She Would Darken the Memory" being highpoints and during "Talking With Fireworks," Graham knelt in front of the drumset, grabbed some sticks, and joined in the cacophony. The entire set built up to a noisy feedback-laden outro during "I'm Taking the Train Home" and then in a blink, it was over, leaving the Bottle patrons speechless and encore-less, ears ringing. - B. Nanna

Photo by B. Nanna