The Twilight Sad, a band that Robert Smith considers to be “the best band playing the best songs,” toured with The Cure in 2016 as part of their global trek.
If you’re not familiar with The Twilight Sad, they are a Scottish shoegaze band that was founded about 20 years ago and has so far put out five albums. Similar to The Cure, they toiled away in the shadows for years before receiving the respect they deserved; even now, they remain mostly unnoticed.
Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, their debut album, was made available through FatCat Records in 2007. Critics gave it positive feedback, however, it didn’t generate a sizable quantity of sales. The Twilight Sad, on the other hand, took a more gradual approach to popularity.
Following the release of their debut album, the Scottish band hit the road and built a fan base the traditional way. They greatly benefited from the backing of bands like Mogwai, The Smashing Pumpkins, Beirut, and Frightened Rabbit during this period.
The Twilight Sad, who has expertise as a support act, was the ideal option as The Cure’s opening act in 2016. In actuality, Smith was more interested in seeing his favorite band play live every night than he was concerned if their curriculum vitae were appropriate for the position.
Every night, Smith enjoyed seeing The Twilight Sad up and personal; he subsequently spoke of the delight they brought him on the tour. After the live performances were over, NME published an article through the eyes of The Twilight Sad and displayed the pictures they had shot while touring. The piece also included a laudatory preface by The Cure vocalist.
Smith explained, “I asked The Twilight Sad to join us on The Cure Tour 2016 because they are the best band playing the best songs – consistently brilliant, emotional, intense, inspiring, entertaining. They have added immeasurably to this year’s live experience – for fans, crew and Cure band alike… and it turns out they are the best people too! I can’t thank them enough.”
The Twilight Sad received an email from Smith through Mogwai vocalist Stuart Braithwaite, and at first they thought it was a prank when Smith invited them to tour with their heroes. It was The Cure frontman, much to their surprise, and a lovely relationship grew. Later, musician Andy MacFarlane stated in 2015 to The Guardian: “For as far back as I can remember, we have all been huge fans of the Cure, so reading that was obviously mind blowing – although I was always slightly sceptical, thinking it was maybe Barry Burns from Mogwai trying to pull some elaborate joke on us.”
“After we recorded Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave I sent it to Robert to have a listen, and he said it was ‘BEAUTIFUL’. We wanted to do something special for the ‘It Never Was the Same’ single, as it was going to be the last release from the album. I knew it was a pretty far-fetched idea but thought I might as well chance my arm and ask Robert if he’d be up for covering one of our songs to feature as a double A-side. I couldn’t believe it when he replied, saying he’d like to cover ‘There’s a Girl in the Corner’.”
Even though Smith contacted them after they had been in the business for more than ten years, it was still a moment that gave them hope for the future. It’s the stuff of fantasies to have The Cure vocalist cover one of your songs, in addition to having the honor of him declaring them the “best band” in the world.
A generation of bands like The Twilight Sad would likely not have existed without The Cure. Smith’s ensemble paved the way for a new breed of performers who took pride in being outcasts and misfits while creating catchy earworms.