Since their inception, the Scottish band have gone from strength to strength, and their growing popularity seems to have influenced the way the band view their own output. The Xcerts are a very progressive band. With each album release, they take on a new sound. There's the emo balladry of In the Cold Wind We Smile, the noise rock of Scatterbrain and the power pop of There Is Only You.
During the final tour supporting third album, There Is Only You, their setlist comprised of all but one song from their third release (excluding the album's intro), leaving only two or three songs from each prior album.
Their performance at St Luke's was under different circumstances, however. The album this tour is promoting, Hold On To Your Heart, is yet to be released and with it being such a landmark show for The Xcerts, it was likely that they would play a more Greatest Hits-esque setlist.
However, the Aberdeen trio were as forward thinking as always.
There's a rule in stand up comedy that you open with your second best joke and close with your best and, in a way, it applies to live music as well. By choosing an opener and a closer, you help crown songs as fan favourites. The Xcerts have released two singles from their Hold On To Your Heart, 'Daydream' and 'Feels Like Falling in Love'. Respectively, these songs were the set's opener and closer. The set was also still very There is Only You heavy.
Although their sound does change from album to album, one thing that is consistent is The Xcerts' ability to write huge choruses. This coupled with very emotionally vulnerable lyrics inspires a strong connection between their fans and them and makes the songs near impossible not to sing along to.
This provided some of the concerts best moments, for example, The Xcerts "getting to be Aerosmith" during 'Slackerpop' by having the balcony compete against the floor by seeing who could sing the start of the chorus louder, as well as huge singalongs during, frontman Murray MacLeod's solo numbers, 'Aberdeen 1987' and 'Pop Song'.
One criticism is that MacLeod underrates this trait in the band. During a few songs' choruses, MacLeod sings slightly altered melodies and, every time he does, you can hear those singing along drop out in confusion. There are changes that work wonderfully too, however, for example 'Pop Song' is stripped back to heart-wrenching effect and there's an added instrumental break during 'In the Cold Wind We Smile' which builds perfectly to the song's finish.
'Crisis in the Slow Lane' is arguably the concert's best moment. Due to it being one of the oldest songs in the set and one that elevated the band to slightly higher level when first released, it goes down an absolute treat with very few audience members not singing along to the euphoric chorus.
While 'Feels Like Falling in Love' promises big things from Hold Onto Your Heart, it still feels a little fresh and fans are still getting accustomed to it. 'Crisis In The Slow Lane' is already an Xcerts classic and is arguably better suited to closing the set.
It's an emotional night in which MacLeod dedicates 'Aberdeen 1987' to his Mum who was in attendance and pays a touching tribute to Tom Petty by playing an abridged version of 'I Won't Back Down' to huge applause.
You can see how much this milestone concert means to the band, who spend the majority of the performance grinning ear to ear. McLeod thanks the audience multiple times and ends the show with a Wayne's World-esque "We are not worthy!" motion. The feeling is obviously reciprocated.