TEXAS IS THE REASON: THE GRAND FINALE
Manchester Academy 3 // Saturday, August 3, 2013
Electric Ballroom, London // Sunday, August 4, 2013
‘It is never happening again’ announced the spine-tingling trailer for post-hardcore heroes TEXAS IS THE REASON‘s last hurrah in Europe back in May. ‘This is it,’ I thought. ‘This is going to be very special…’
Firstly, and fairly briefly, lets take things back a bit. Around 17 years…
I was 21. I adored the post-hardcore sounds coming from the Revelation Records stable – Sense Field, Shelter, Into Another, Quicksand and Texas Is The Reason. Around that time, I was lucky enough to have seen many of these bands live on their rare visits to the UK. But, alas, not TITR’s. Their split in 1997 after their only European tour pretty much sealed the deal. It wasn’t meant to be…
Then, last October it was announced they were to reform and top the bill at Revelation Records’ 25th anniversary shows in New York. I got hugely excited. I bought tickets to the shows, but then head ruled heart. There was no way I could afford the flights to the US and a hotel for a few hours in a sweaty club in midtown New York. It just wasn’t meant to be…
Then that trailer hit the internet – revealing their final-ever shows would be in the UK. There was no way I was going to miss this. I snapped up tickets for the Manchester show, and it would be rude not to attend the London show – The Grand Finale.
This is it. The first and last times. Excited doesn’t really cut it. Emotional? You may scoff, but yeah, pretty emotional. I was transformed back into a giddy youngster once again – as a friend from back home said to me after the show, ‘will we ever grow up?’ Nope.
Both Manchester and London shows featured every song Texas Is The Reason had put out. All 15 of them. And this is the thing – their short-lived career, which came crashing down amid major label courtship, was such an exact moment of time. One EP and an album’s worth of material stood the test of time, became classics and sparked a couple of generations of punk kids’ interests.
Their music has always struck a chord with me – it’s a teenage spirit contained and kept alive. I’ve revisited the album many times over the years like I would recall a first love, thinking of what could have been. The excitement, the spark, the passion rushing through me each fleeting time.
I got talking to guitarist Norman before the Manchester show, and asked him how he felt now the end was in sight. The source of his enlightenment was surprising.
“Driving down from Glasgow, we were listening to Mark Owen’s new album. The last song on the album is called End Of Everything. That’s when it hit me, listening to that…” he admitted. Norm’s a huge Take That fan. Fact.
As Kevin Costner’s voice filled the venue: “So what really happened that day? Let’s just for a moment speculate shall we..?” and their JFK fixation eagerly shared one last time, that spine-tingling hook from Do You Know Who You Are? burst to life and the fairy lights around the backline flickered on, signaling the beginning of the end. ‘This is it,’ I thought. ‘This is going to be very special…’
Each song was met with huge cheers and mass sing-alongs, still having the vitality and drive they had years ago. Looking a little more weathered (that’s fair to say, right?) than those kids looking back at me on the EP cover, the band – singer Garrett, guitarist Norman, bassist Scott and drummer Chris – channelled their inner-youth and tore through the set with such energy, two songs in Norman’s shirt was soaked with sweat.
The punch of Back And To The Left, the swelling force of Nickel Wound (which had the gloriously cerebral line, “But it’s days like this that keep me alive“) and the mature grit of Every Little Girl’s Dream and When Rock N Roll Was Just A Baby fired up the bouncing masses in front of them.
Garrett briefly engaged with the crowd during the set, not through self-assurance, but through self-awareness, I guess. In Manchester you could see him fighting back the emotion as the set grew closer to the end. The following night in London, as the last snare roll of spirited swansong A Jack With One Eye rung out, he broke into tears – this was The End.
They lingered on stage for what seemed like ages, embracing each other and embracing the crowd’s rapturous applause. A girl in front of me was crying her eyes out. To my right, two 40-odd-year-old mates were consoling each other. I’m not afraid to say I shed a tear.
This was closure. Ears ringing, heart racing, the brief tryst from 17 years ago was celebrated with a wonderful final fling – two nights of passion, of liberation from adulthood for a short while, of intimacy between strangers bonded by one common, bitter-sweet theme…
Your place is still at the heart of my everything…
A Jack With One Eye, Texas Is The Reason (1996)