To think that, before the release of their latest album, The Xcerts’ fate hung in the balance seems extraordinary on a night like this one. Admittedly, the Brighton-based trio have spent the better part of fifteen years - and almost their entire adult lives - on the road, cutting their teeth in the most traditional of ways, grafting to earn each and every fan. It’s been the kind of slow and steady approach that really paid off; back in 2019, the band celebrated the anniversary of their debut album with a slew of packed out, euphoric live shows that showcased just how passionately their fanbase feel, before the pandemic threw everything out of whack.
Now, having weathered the worst of that particular storm, their return to the capital tonight feels triumphant. Building upon the creative playfulness of their fifth full-length ‘Learning How To Live and Let Go’, the band take to the stage to the sounds of a voicemail recording by frontman Murray Macleod - an inspired way of weaving the album’s personal nature in - before crashing headfirst into its thundering opening ‘GIMME’. From then on, their set flits between moments from across their discography - from the soaring pop of ‘Daydream’ and ‘Drive Me Wild’, through to the scorched screams of ‘Slackerpop’ - in what feels like a perfect display of their sonic DNA, helping to connect the dots to their latest release. There’s also an easy confidence that exudes from the trio as a unit, and it’s clear that - especially during one section of between-song chatter about their first night in Southampton - they’re still also having fun. A brilliant balance between artistry and connection, as things round out with a euphoric, fan-led rendition of ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’, it’s hard not to feel even a little misty-eyed at the fact they’ve made it through the other side.