Live Review: The Xcerts // The Deaf Institute – Manchester

The Xcerts triumphed in Manchester as they served up their new album ‘Hold On To Your Heart’.

The Scottish trio, for some bizarre reason, have always had difficult times in Manchester but were welcomed on a bitterly cold evening to the cosy and intimate Deaf Institute by a packed out crowd.

Despite the turnout, however, it took a long time for the crowd to thaw out. The haunting opening of ‘The Dark’ before the fun ‘Daydream’ were greeted to little more than polite applause. Not all the blame can go on the crowd as it’s fair to say lead singer Murray Macleod was feeling his way into the show after what he described as going “12 rounds with The Devil” the night before.

After warning the crowd of the possibility that he could shit himself or spew at any moment, Murray did start to let loose with new songs like ‘First Kiss Feeling’ and ‘Show Me Beautiful’ perfectly showcasing The Xcerts ability to rock with stadium-sized confidence in one moment and then reduce to heartbreaking devastation the next.

It wasn’t until a throwback to their first album with ‘Crisis In The Slow Lane’ did the crowd fully get on board as Murray started the song alone before being joined by his band mates for an enormous finale. From there, the band piled into ‘Drive Me Wild’ and ‘We’re Gonna Live’ with the crowd fully onboard as they celebrated the new album.

With so much emphasis on ‘Hold On To Your Heart’, at times, it didn’t seem to fully reach its potential with bassist Jordan Smith having to dance between keys and his bass where an extra musician could have fleshed out the tracks much more than any backing track ever could.

The encore seemed to come around all too soon after everyone had really started to party. Murray went solo again for ‘Aberdeen 1987’ before the obligatory, crowd participatory, sing-a-long to ‘Slackerpop’. But, the defining moment of the set came as they rounded off the set with the massive new single ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’.

It wasn’t the perfect set but overall it was a victory for The Xcerts. In brief glimpses, as always, they showed themselves to be world beaters and, while some of their older hits were omitted from the set, the emphasis on the new album showed off what a huge step they’ve taken with their 4th album.

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