The Xcerts @ Brudenell Social Club
Brudenell Social Club looks like something taken straight out of an 80s coming-of-age film – complete with soft bench seats and a disco ball. The intermission playlist features songs such as Rick Springfield’s ‘Jessie’s Girl’ and Eric Carmen’s ‘Hungry Eyes’. It’s the ideal setting for The XCERTS to play.
Opening band Airwaves have a very Arctic Monkeys quality to their sound – and to their attitude. They don’t particularly seem to want to be here, which puts a downer on the set, but the tunes are alright. Fellow support act Big Spring on the other hand are having a great time. They have distinct Royal Blood-esque sounds, but unfortunately the vocals and lyrics don’t deliver on the heavy promise of everything behind them.
When The XCERTS arrive on stage, the night really starts. They launch into new single ‘Daydream’ and it’s difficult not to wonder how this band aren’t huge. The song sounds even better live than it does on record, a theme which continues throughout the night. Frontman Murray Macleod’s vocals are especially impressive on a stripped back ‘Pop Song’, a moment in the set which feels particularly special. It’s not what warrants the biggest sing-a-long though, which belongs to an old track called ‘Aberdeen 1987’ – a nostalgic song which has long-term fans closing their eyes and swaying, possibly trying to keep themselves from getting weepy.
The band play a couple of new, unheard songs from the upcoming album Hold Onto Your Heart early in the set, and they’re very impressive. They have a classic feel to them. They’re big, polished tunes with catchy choruses and are so much bigger than anything the band have done before – whilst remaining The XCERTS at their core. It’s easy to see songs such as ‘First Kiss Feeling’ appealing to an audience far larger than the one here tonight. Murray jokes at one point that they want the crowd to sing with them so that they can “feel like we’re Aerosmith for a moment”, but it seems like the band are on top of the world anyway.
The night feels like falling in love all over again, like a confirmation that everyone here put their faith in the right band. The XCERTS should be playing to bigger rooms than this, but it feels right to be here. It feels like we’re in on a special secret. No doubt, we won’t be in venues like Brudenell for much longer – if these new songs don’t launch the band into British rock’s major leagues, then that’s a travesty. So hold onto your hearts, because The XCERTS are coming to steal them.