There was truly no greater way to emerge from the lockdown hovel but to attend my first post-covid concert surrounded by my family watching the band that cemented our bond through the long hard months, Tide Lines. Watching the four members dance onto stage and shout, “How are we feeling Ayr” to the eager crowd washed away any bitter notes from the past year.
My story with Tide Lines began with my aunt telling me in 2016 to watch a YouTube video of a boy called Robert Robertson singing a cover of Taylor Swift with a Scottish twang that gave Shake it off so much more character.
For Robert himself the story started when the four boys decided to start a band that they could focus all their musical ambitions into. I was lucky enough to chat to him before the concert and was met by a calming and passionate guy. If he was nervous about performing to a packed hall of 700 people, he certainly didn’t show it. After whipping off his sunglasses that he said was his disguise to the already big queues of super fans, we proceeded with the interview.
The new album is a true vision in Scottish music. With beautiful lyrics written by Robert, including a song written in Gaelic, and the usual sounds from the band. But one change from the band is the movement to a richer synth sound in songs such as ‘17 again’ and a heaver percussion bass found throughout the set. With four members all coming from different musical backgrounds it makes sense for them all to bring their influences into creating the sound that is Tide Lines. A song that sticks out would be the Gaelic song, Cànan Nan Gàidheal. Being from the West Highlands Robert said it was important for him to incorporate that into his music.
“I wasn’t a fluent or native Gaelic speaker but just because I was into traditional music and from that part of the world there’s such a huge Gaelic influence. It’s had an unfathomable influence on my life and my music. So that’s why Cànan Nan Gàidheal is there in the album because we wanted to show a Gaelic song just to show where all the English songs come from.”
Tide Lines @ Ayr Town Hall
Once the interview was over and I’d wished Robert good luck for the gig and for making it back safely without the eager fans waiting for him, settled into the hall for the music to begin. They got off to a bang with ‘Innocent and Beautiful’ one of the lead songs from the new album. The lighting, the setting and the sea of merch t-shirts really reminded me that live music was officially back. The night progressed with songs from the album, including Cànan Nan Gàidheal which after my chat with the singer now found a special meaning to me. The band had a natural performing ability, they constantly changed guitars and instruments showing off their innate musical ability. Alasdair had the crowd roaring and stamping their feet when he brought out bagpipes to give a phenomenal instrumental.
The night finished up with the Ayrshire crowd chanting for more and we happily sang along to ‘Far Side of the World’, the song that made this band who they are today and the reason so many fans fell in love with the Scottish boy’s sound.
Hearing the crowd cheer the name of the band reminded me of a question I had enquired earlier. I asked the boys the idea behind their name before the concert. They wanted a name that would represent all the boys and where they were from, the sea and the highlands. Tide Lines was born, a name that now fans scream at concerts and posters hail as a headline act. As Robert and I laughed about a press release from their early days one phrase stands out to this day. Catch these lads while you are lucky enough to still see the whites of their eyes.
Written By Jessica Matthewson