LIVE REVIEW: Two Door Cinema Club @ Manhattan Hammerstein Ballroom
story + pictures / Adeline Tan
Day one of the two-day concert began with a BANG! Two Door Cinema Club was as jaw dropping as I’d anticipated and the show was an uninterrupted adrenaline rush of a ride with the music thrumming ever-presently through my entire body. And if the crowd at the Two Door Cinema show at Manhattan Hammerstein Ballroom was of any indication, they know how to pack a room to the brim. They unquestionably have an enormous fan base of young, hip and eclectic individuals. On the 10th of October, Northern Ireland’s indie-rock trio Two Door Cinema Club performed to their sold out crowd of eager fans in the beautiful Hammerstein Ballroom. This Irish trio is known for their electro pop beats and funky dance songs that bring energy directly into a venue with openers Smallpools and St. Lucia.
The band consists of Alex Trimble (lead singer, rhythm guitar, beats and synths), Sam Halliday (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Kevin Baird (bass, backing vocals). The band’s debut album, Tourist History was released on the 1st of March 2010 and later their second album Beacon was released on the 3rd of September 2012. Being a somewhat new band, it seems like they have a substantial following. But of course their music has latched on to brands and has been used in commercials for Hollister Co., Microsoft and even Vodafone. Maybe it’s because their music is appealing, exciting and relates to the masses specifically the youthful more energetic parties that these commercials target.
It is no wonder these lads are in such high demand if the enthusiastic and crowd-engaging performance they put on that Thursday night was of any suggestion. It was a Thursday night and everyone was out regardless to watch these Irish lads take the stage.
The show started off with a slight hitch as Two Door Cinema Club came onto the stage to kick off the concert with a fan favorite, Sleep Alone. However, there was a malfunction and the band went off the stage to start the show again the right way: which speaks of their professionalism and courteousness. Nothing but the best for the fans! Trimble apologized for the technical difficulties in his soft, promising voice. The band came out again to perform Sleep Alone with a brilliantly lit stage accompanied with dancing, brightly coloured lights! Trimble’s voice is so distinctive and is just as good live as it is on the record and the guitar riffs flowed through my veins. His famous ginger hair flailed around every now and then, illuminated by the burst of strobe flashing lights. The following songs were Undercover Martyn and Do You Want It All. When they played This is the Life, the audience was swept away by the magic and the prowess of this incredible band. The light show was one of the best I’ve seen, synched seamlessly with the beat and words of each song. The audience went nuts and with good reason too.
The boys are obviously big hits with EA, with Sleep Alone appearing on FIFA 13, but their latest album Beacon is far more than just a gaming soundtrack. Beacon builds on the sharp pop punk hits of Tourist History but with a different kind of self-assurance thriving through Trimble’s vocals. This confidence was executed with much finesse in front of the crowd amongst the jubilant singing and dancing, the over zealous fist pumping of a teen dominated front floor audience as well as the young girls lifted on blokes shoulders frantically arm waving and shaking to the music. Beacon’s songs reflect a mastery of catchy, beat-laden crescendos that show a skillful melding of pop intuition and meticulous songwriting. What makes them so adored by kids, teenagers, and middle-aged people all shrieking with delight, is the emotional connection. The band throws themselves into every minute, from Wake Up to Next Year and Something Good Can Work, Trimble’s wistful, sweet voice has a sympathetic, youthful quality that gives his lyrics of the paranoias and troubles of a twentysomething life an attention-grabbing attribute beyond the sum of their parts.
Halliday’s beautifully executed guitar skills grabbed hold of the crowd and the trio complemented each other in their laid back fashion. They didn’t do too much when interacting with the crowd, and were very put together: a far cry from messy. There was an effortlessness about their performance, a comforting fashion throughout Come Back Home and Beacon. Trimble showed his range by switching between playing the guitar and the keys, which is always a treat to know a frontman is keen to capitalize as much of his efforts into his other talents on stage.
Two Door Cinema Club’s music live is just as you anticipate: fun, danceable music that makes you feel like doing whatever the heck you want and gives you a sense of carelessness. It has the power of making you feel invincible and free. At some points in the show, both Halliday and Baird jumped onto a light fixture that changed colors while they were playing, almost like a showcase platform illuminating their guitars and shooting light upwards which gave the show the extra bravura it needed. Handshake was undeniably used as a main-set anchor and Eat That Up, It’s Good For You ended their set before the encore.
Someday was that evening’s encore kick-starter, it leaned toward the band’s undoubtedly more electronic, dance roots, eventually exploding with booming club beats worthy of the unruliest club remixes. Subsequently Cigarettes in the Theatre began and the strobe lights and smoke jet machines seemed to be going off a million times per second, the crowd’s anticipation could be felt in every way. The youth in the crowd was palpable and explained the electric spirit and exhilaration hardly containable! The band themselves were charming, sweet and kept thanking the New York audience for coming out to see them. Like the gentlemanly Irishmen they are, they were well-mannered and shy but in a cool way.
The band ended the show with What You Know, and one of the best parts of the concert was seeing how gratified they were by the uninhibited zeal and love of everyone present. What was evident was the electronic vibe in their amped-up, distinctively refined versions of their initial favorites like This is The Life and I Can Talk. Even the show-closing What You Know was lifted and given an extra boost with traditional instrumentation. Sticking to the drums, guitar, bass and keys and with only a smidgen of accurately inserted samples allows this rising group to preserve their rock and roll swagger while enticing their ever varied and widening fan base. Between 2007 and 2013, they have succeeded in producing some pretty remarkable songs and have transformed the indie dance pop world, so they are one to keep an eye out for!
More pics here!