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I WAS THERE | TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB – MELBOURNE SIDESHOW 29.12.12

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Stepping into the infamous Festival Hall took me back to my days as an underage tacker aching to see all the live music I could get into without whipping out my piss weak fake ID. Even then, I could tell that the venue was long overdue for a touch up, to the point where the state of the joint affected the performance of the bands I had paid months worth of pocket money to see in the flesh. However, the underage tackers at Festy Hall on this night wouldn’t have given one thought to the venue as Two Door Cinema Club was about the bring one hell of a performance.

After entering the doors of the establishment and making a swift beeline to the underground bar, I resurfaced to the sound of a roaring crowd of mostly 16 year olds who were clambering to the barrier to get within eyeshot of Brisbane indie quartet the Jungle Giants. I have seen the Jungle Giants quite a few times within the last 18 months playing support sets for various bands, but this is by far the biggest show I have ever seen them play. The quartet seemed completely at ease with the magnitude of the venue and crowd, and proved that they were the perfect local act to be opening for the Irish powerhouse of Two Door Cinema Club. The band instantly captured the attention of the crowd and kept them onboard for their short yet energetic set.

Although I’m not much of a fan of the Jungle Giants’ somewhat predictable guitar-pop, I give them high praise for the fact that their performance improves substantially every time they play. A particular crowd favourite was the staple tune “Mr Polite”, which came out of nowhere and got the floor moving. Literally. Additionally, new single “You’ve Got Something” was a stand out moment of the Jungle Giant’s set, evoking mass hand clapping and a raucous sing-a-long.

The Vaccines slowly but surely took to the stage next. Flanked by a giant banner with a reverse colour press shot, the black clad four piece powered through a set that displayed the next level in musicianship to what we had just seen. This said, I didn’t feel like the Vaccines were the best match for the crowd demographic. Despite ripping out a series of Ramones-style two-minute bangers that reminded me of playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 on my mum’s old PC, the young crowd seemed less captivated by the well-toured and highly experienced band.

This being said, the individual instrumental prowess of each member was really brought to attention throughout the Vaccines’ set. From a technical perspective, the performance of lead guitarist, Freddie Cowan, was the highlight of their entire set. This coupled with the punk-inspired yet melodic lead vocal performance of Justin Young was extremely impressive, even if the vocals were somewhat lost in the mix in typical Festival Hall style. The track “Bad Move” particularly displayed Young’s versatility as a vocalist, as he delved into the lower register right after getting into a frenzy while belting out the crowd pleaser “Post Break Up Sex”.

The stage was now set for Two Door Cinema Club to deliver their first show on Australian shores since their appearance at Laneway Festival in 2011. The crowd buzzes as the Irish three piece joined by their touring drummer took to the darkened stage, only illuminated by triangular shaped light installations. From this point onwards, TDCC proved to a capacity-strong Festival Hall audience why they are one of the most in demand indie acts in recent years. Accompanied by a seizure inducing light show, TDCC smashed out a 70 minute long set packed full of classic tunes from their inaugural album “Tourist History” along with fresh picks out of their latest release, “Beacon”.

Frontman Alex Trimble delivered a flawless vocal performance, toying with the well-known melodies from “Undercover Martyn” and “Do You Want It All” while the energetic crowd sang every song word for word. This being said, Trimble’s guitar choice was somewhat questionable as he opted for a hollow bodied instrument, deviating from the sharp, clean tone that is so central to TDCC’s distinctive sound. Instead, his playing at times was a bit too crunchy and washy. But maybe that’s just me being picky…

Sam Halliday on lead guitar duties and Kevin Baird who switched between bass guitar and synth flanked Trimble. Halliday’s famous foot shuffling dance moves were in full force, while his distinctive sound and style of guitar playing completed the TDCC live experience. Despite some minor technical difficulties, Halliday’s performance was every bit as credible as his lead singing band mate. Despite engaging in very little banter between songs throughout the set, TDCC still managed to engage the crowd with mass sing-a-longs and an all round great production involving strobe lights, fog machines and even giant white balloons.

Showing versatility in their set as they tackled Radiohead-style polyrhythms in “Pyramid” and soft organ parts in “Sun”, TDCC left the crowd aching for an encore. After a lengthy wait, TDCC took to the stage again and played another three songs to an audience that was genuinely hungry for more. Trimble’s charming exclamation of how happy the band was to be back in Australia was met with extreme enthusiasm as the night ended in a dance party to arguably their most popular tune, “What You Know”.

Two Door Cinema Club might be an example of indie pop in its most classic form. However, as shown in this performance, they are one of the best bands in the world at their trade.

By Alex Lahey

SET LIST

Sleep Alone
Undercover Martyn
Do You Want It All
This Is The Life
Wake Up
Sun
Pyramid
I Can Talk
Costume Party
The World Is Watching
Next Year
Something Good Can Work
Handshake
Eat That Up It’s Good For You
Someday
Come Back Home
What You Know

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