Outside the Pit is a recurring installment for Mosh Pit Report that focuses on the music we at Mosh Pit Report listen to when we're not moshing. We encourage our readers to check out all the artists we cover and expand outside some of their typical musical comfort zones.
South African rock outfit Civil Twilight are a band that fall into the ‘hidden gems’ category. Even if you haven’t heard their name, you’ve probably heard their music. With several songs featured in television programs and movies such as “House, M.D.” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Underworld: Awakening” Civil Twilight’s songs have permeated popular entertainment many times since 2010.
They’ve also spent time on tour with artists such as Florence + the Machine, Young the Giant and the Smashing Pumpkins. However on most of their US headline dates, you’ll find them playing in intimate venues bringing their massive sound to the small stage. That’s not to say that they aren’t popular either, go see Civil Twilight in concert and you’ll hear plenty of fans singing along to their songs during the show.
They’re currently on tour across the US again, playing dates both opening for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and off date headline shows. For this tour the band’s lineup has gone back to a three piece featuring brothers Andrew and Steven McKellar and drummer Richard Wouters. Recently the tour swung by Great Scott in Boston, MA where the trio performed a scintillating set for the Boston crowd.
Going back to being a three piece, Civil Twilight are using the tour as a chance to revisit some of their older material, during the Boston stop, it was their 2010 self-titled debut album that got the most attention as they would play five songs from it during the night. The tracks “Human” and “Letters From the Sky” are both ones that have made several appearances in popular culture in the last few years, and both songs were played during the show, bringing out the inner singer in many of those in attendance. The trio did also perform songs from their most recent release, 2015’s “Story of an Immigrant” including the title track, the song “Oh Daniel” and the show closing “When, When.”
If you close your eyes while standing and listening to their performance, it might be easy to forget for a minute you’re in an intimate bar venue, and instead think you’re sitting in a massive arena listening to the likes of U2, that’s just how big and bold Civil Twilight’s sound is. There’s even a point in the set where guitarist Andrew McKellar breaks out a violin bow to play his guitar with a la Jimmy Page. There’s something intangible about Civil Twilight and their sound and presence, but what is unmistakable is the fact that they are band who know how to put on a rock and roll show.