Hailing originally from Aberdeen but now adopted in Brighton, The XCERTS are three albums deep into their career and are still producing a strong distorted Pop sound. After struggling to fund third their album “There Is Only You” - reaching number 96 in the UK album chart. The XCERTS managed to secure funding through the PRS for Music Foundation in 2015 to record their fourth album “Hold On To Your Heart”.
After signing to Raygun Records - the band have released three power Pop-Rock singles in 2017. These are “Daydream”, “Hold On To Your Heart” and my favourite “Feels Like Falling In Love” A single which also made its way onto Radio One in the daytime, is this the moment The XCERTS have been waiting for?
It’s 2018 now, we into phase two of the album cycle and The XCERTS are at Leicester’s O2 Academy.
Kicking the night off with AIRWAYS - their groovy tight Jazz sound is something I could get used to - It’s easy to listen to and they even a small group of fans singing along. AIRWAYS who are based in Peterborough also have inferences from the other side of the pound - Brain (drummer) is from Chicago!
One track which makes heads turn toward the stage is “Mate” it’s catchy lyrics matched with its head bobbing bass line makes this the turning point of the set for Airways. Their Indie-Pop transfers into “White Noise Boys”, a track which future on their latest EP “Starting To Spin” this brings their set to an end.
The reason why 99 percent of the crowd are here are up next - The XCERTS get better and better each time I see them, their set gets stronger and the crowds get bigger. “The Dark” gently starts off the evening with its slow and beautiful piano piece eases the nicely packed Academy into the evening. Sticking with the album order we smash into “Daydream” an arena sounding song and even played at an arena level of sound! You can feel the excitement of the night in the air.
This is the first night of tour so we are all a bit rusty, including me after a couple of pints! We throw back the years with classics “I Don’t Care” and “Shaking In The Water” these are sung back with a mixture of excitement and passion from the Leicester crowd. These tracks never get boring, I think it’s actually possible to sing XCERTS lyrics for days on end.
The last time The XCERTS played Leicester was back in 2016 for Handmande Festival. They had a few sound problems as they headlined the second stage of the festival - Murray (lead singer and guitarist) jokes “I honestly don’t know why anyone has come back!” - by the look of the crowd, it didn’t do any harm.
Back to 2018 - “First Kiss Feeling” is up next, it’s emotional Pop sound makes you feel like a teenager all over again. Lyrics are still being sung back even with an album track. This mirrors the success of album “Hold On To Your Heart” - reaching number 40 in the UK album chart. The highest position the band have ever achieved.
We swing back to the first album with “Crisis In The Slow Lane” - I love that The XCERTS give the fans a touch of the old days. It seems like they still love playing every track just as much as the first time.
We have come to an awkward point in the set for the band, “Drive Me Wild”. This was added to the set but The XCERTS realised after they don’t have a saxophone, cue Toby....he was picked out the crowd by Murray to hum his very own saxophone solo. After a small amount of persuasion he agreed and did a fantastic job at that! Murray did mention Toby might have to do the rest of the tour with them though - sorry Toby.
The XCERTS are such an prefect band to listen to on a Sunday night, their shows are relaxed and fun all at the same time. Now time for “Hold On To Your Heart” the lead track from the album of the same name - this song is catchy, it builds nicely and most of the all it showcases how great The XCERTS are.
Encore time and only Murray appears for the first of three songs - it’s time for 'Aberdeen 1987'. This has become a signature track for not only Murray but the band, the academy warms up with its sing along lyrics - all we need is a camp fire and marshmallows now!
The roof is taken off with “Slackerpop” it’s fast beats gets everyone up on there feet - another song which is sung word for word, it seems if you're an XCERTS fan you have to religiously know every single word to every song. Ending the night with “Feels Like Falling In Love” a track which is about Murray’s recent meeting with a new baby in the family. This is echoed across the academy floor and paired with the electric feeling coming from every single person in the room, this is another example why “Hold On To Your Heart” is a successful album.
The XCERTS have done the hard work, they are an already moulded Rock band and ready to be ejected into stardom.
The XCERTS - https://www.facebook.com/Thexcerts/
AIRWAYS - https://www.facebook.com/airwaysofficial/
Review - Jake Williams