The Xtra Mile High Club tour rolled into Aldershot with the Aberdeen via Exeter three-piece The Xcerts previewing their new sophomore album, due out in September. Although they were the only band on the label that took on the Hampshire leg, there were still free Xtra Mile CDs featuring a host of great acts on the label (Frank Turner, Chris T-T and Beans On Toast’s brilliantly-named ‘I Fancy Laura Marling’) given away, and complimentary beer mats emblazoned with The Xcerts’ logo. A great, useful piece of merchandise. Starting with a new song that showcased the heavier direction the band are taking, lead singer Murray MacLeod made use of both microphones he had hanging on his stand and made his first yelping scream. For someone so slight and skinny, it’s a shock he has something that loud in him – a far rougher growl than previously heard. Whereas debut album ‘In The Cold Wind We Smile’ was full of tales of sentimental loss amongst a mixture of touching Scottish vocals, crunching and distorted guitars and the occasional slow-burning epic track, the band seem angrier this time around - no wonder their MySpace claims they sound like: “a pissed off Scotland”. With heavy riffs, clattering drums and intense drumming, it is a direction similar in sound to Brand New or Manchester Orchestra, but still with the band’s more accessible ‘poppier’ trademarks left intact. Their set was a mixture of both old and new songs, with the biggest reaction for current single and Kerrang favourite ‘Slackerpop’, a track where they sound at their most Biffy, and on this showing you can see: “I’ll be your man…I’ll be your mannequin” becoming a statement of relinquished intent. Of course, it was the known tracks that had the crowd nodding along with a new slowed-down version of ‘Home Versus Home’ and an intense ‘Nightschool’ sounding especially grand. The band have also grown into entertaining live performers - Murray continuously wrestling with his guitar, drummer Tom Heron breaking sticks every song and bassist Jordan Smith just looking at odds with the chaos surrounding him. Murray showed some dry wit in between songs, thanking the crowd for being the only audience on their whole tour to ask how the band were and rating the haircuts of kids in the front row. He also made an impassioned speech acknowledging how well the band were treated by the venue, making sure the promoter received an ovation from the crowd. The band went through their set at breakneck speed and it was over within 35 minutes, even though they played so many tracks. After a lengthy pause they came back to perform ‘I See Things Differently’ as their encore, with a moshpit breaking out and some of the audience screaming “this is getting serious” at the top of their voices. Murray put his guitar down and took part of the drumkit to the front to participate in some classic duel military drumming that ended the set in style. Loud, powerful and passionate live performers, The Xcerts are a band on the up and will be at a festival near you in the summer. They have a song called ‘Listen. Don’t Panic’, and if you haven’t heard them yet, you really should heed their advice.