Two Door Cinema Club, Bastille & Swim Deep – Music Hall, Aberdeen 04/02/13
FnS young gunette PenguinGoneMad takes in her first gig of the year.
A freezing night outside, it may have been, but things were quickly heating up inside the music hall on Monday night, thanks to Two Door Cinema Club’s infectious energy and their care-free, Summer sound.
First to take to the stage were Birmingham’s surfer-pop quad Swim Deep. The band’s sun kissed music complemented that of the headliner’s quite well, but sadly, few people got to experience their set. The majority of the audience strolled in during the second support act, meaning that Swim Deep were trying to win over the hearts of the dedicated few, but judging by the way the fans on the far left were jumping along to their songs, it seems as though they were succeeding.
For me, the bass seemed to be the most prominent instrument out of the entire set, with thundering riffs that you could feel passing straight through you. So you can imagine my surprise when I discover that, prior to joining the band, bassist Cavan McCarthy had never actually played the instrument before. In fact, he had never played any instrument before joining the band, which, considering the performance that he gave during Swim Deep’s set, is nothing short of amazing. Drummer Zach Robinson also stood out during the performance, effortlessly beating out rhythms that you found it near enough impossible not to dance along to.
The band didn’t move around or interact with the audience that much, but even so, I think they did a great job warming the crowd up and preparing everyone for the night ahead. They closed with one of their biggest hits, ‘King City’, in which all of the instruments seemed to blend together to form a sound so catchy, I wouldn’t be surprised if the audience are still humming along to it in a month’s time.
Up and coming Bastille were the second of the night’s support acts, and from the noise that they received from the crowd upon finding their way onto the stage, it was quite clear that the majority of the audience had already heard of them. They started off their set with a quirky intro involving echoing words and (as odd as it sounds) the 20th Century Fox theme on an instrument that sounded like a kazoo/recorder cross breed.
One of the amazing things about Bastille is their ability to make complex instrumental layering look like a walk in the park. Synth pads, keyboards, shakers… you name it, Bastille seemed to use it at some point in their set. When they played ‘Overjoyed’, the band all stood straight in a line at the front of the stage and started playing this amazingly beautiful and insanely catchy song, with a truly staggering amount of different elements being used simultaneously. Front-man Dan Smith comes in too early towards the end of the song, but his mistake only makes the honesty of the song all the more endearing.
The band officially won the audience over with ‘Of The Night’. It starts off in a very lullaby style fashion, before slowly escalating into a huge dance anthem that got the entire venue up and moving. The way that Dan moved around the stage in a carefree fashion during the song allowed the audience to feel as though they could relax and just let the music overwhelm them, which is always an important quality in a front-man. The drum laden breakdown of the song rounded it off nicely.
Bastille closed their set with ‘Pompeii’, which is guaranteed to blast any negative emotions you are feeling at the present moment far away, so you can just allow yourself to become lost in the music. There was a noticeable element of primitive drum beats in some of the songs in Bastille’s set, mixed with a modern electro-rock edge. I predict that Bastille are destined for big things this year, and quite rightly so.
Headliner’s Two Door Cinema Club opened their extensive nineteen song set with the popular ‘Sleep Alone’. It was nice to see the audience surrendering themselves to the music so early on in the night, jumping and singing along as though this might be the last night of their lives. It took a while for the band to interact with the audience however, so I can’t help but wonder to what new levels the atmosphere would have transcended to if front-man Alex Trimble had only began to communicate with the crowd a bit sooner. That being said, the band’s songs are so flawlessly upbeat that their live performances are more likely to evoke memories of summer’s past than they are to cause screaming fan girls. If we’re judging bands by their ability to raise the spirits of the crowd whilst simultaneously sending them into a severe state of nostalgia, as opposed to their stage presence, then I would dare say that you’d be hard pushed to find a band better than Two Door Cinema Club.
Sam Halliday‘s guitar playing gave most of the songs their unique backbone, which is particularly the case during ‘Wake Up’. Trimble’s beautiful vocals blend perfectly with Halliday’s guitar riffs and Kevin Baird’s fantastic bass lines, not to mention the layers of beats and synths that are all essential to create the band’s unique sound.
The crowd went absolutely wild when the band began to play ‘Sun’, a song on which Baird’s bass playing skills are given the attention that they truly deserve. Hearing the bass line live makes you truly appreciate how underappreciated the instrument can be. Trimble politely asked the audience to help sing along to one of the band’s slower songs of the night, the heartfelt ‘The World Is Watching’, which provided a refreshing change of pace from the rest of the upbeat setlist.
Balloons descended upon the audience during the amazing ‘Eat That Up, It’s Good For You’, sending everyone into a frenzy before they teased us all by exiting the stage. After the echoes of the typical “One more tune!” chants had silenced, Two Door Cinema Club returned to the stage to play a three song encore, closing with one of their most popular songs, ‘What You Know’. Although the audience had been consistently energetic all night, they seemed to put their hearts and souls into making sure that the band’s lasting memory of Aberdeen was a positive one. The excitement mixed with the band’s signature sound to emotionally transport audience members to a warmer climate, providing a short mental holiday away from all of the stresses of everyday life.
I’m hoping that this will be the first of many great gigs that the Aberdeen will play host to in 2013, because it’s nights like these that remind me of just how powerful the effects of live music can be.
Words by PenguinGoneMad, pics by Still Burning.
Two Door Cinema Club Website
Swim Deep Facebook