What is it exactly about going to Festival Hall that makes you feel like a teenager? Perhaps it’s seeing a band that your teenage self-adored or the déja vu of attending underage gigs or perhaps it’s the heavy-handed security and entry restrictions? Despite this, the excitement for Two Door Cinema Club‘s show was palpable, as the Irish pop rockers have not returned to Australia since the Beacon tour after cancelling their Splendour In The Grass appearance and sideshows in 2014.
The opening act, The Creases tried their best to warm the stage to a sparsely populated and typically vibeless venue. Yet the Brisbane emerging indie sweethearts made a good go of it with a high energy and tight performance. New track ‘Is It Love?’ and one of the best pop tracks of last year, ‘Impact’ went down a treat with their accomplished interaction of the multiple guitars and layered vocals.
Last Dinosaurs follows, bizarrely running on stage to ‘We Like To Party’ by The Vengaboys and receiving great response from the crowd. Playing a spread of tracks from In A Million Years and Wellness, while having a playful and engaging stage presence, their set was mixed. While tracks like ‘Always’ and ‘Zoom’ stood out with bright guitar melodies and multiple vocal parts, most of the set was pretty generic indie pop. The highlight of the set was certainly their medley of covers which included ‘Lady (Hear Me Tonight)’ by Modjo and ‘Slide’ by Calvin Harris, which was enjoyed by the audience and band unanimously.
After the dip in energy, Two Door Cinema Club opened with a bang. The stage erupted with ‘Cigarettes In The Theatre’ with stadium worthy lighting and large LCD screens backdropping the energetic performance from the band. The high tempo and unconventional drumming gets the heart racing and have always helped this band stand out from their peers of the past decade.
This tour accompanies their long awaited Splendour In The Grass appearance and promotes their first album in four years, Gameshow. This album shows a move to a more upbeat style with elements of disco, funk and synth pop. Songs like ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘Je Viens De La’ are relententlessly tight and boogie-inducing but stand out starkly from their older material with falsetto vocals which mostly abandon Alex Trimble’s recognisable singing style. Gameshow’s tracks, particularly ‘Are We Ready? (Wreck)’ exhibit varying tempos with a tight arrangement of intricately layered textural elements and more synth and electronic drum sounds. This track also showcases the dramatic nature of Two Door Cinema Club’s stage presence which is only aided sonically by emphasised resonating kick drum and floor tom sounds.
In contrast in my excitement at this change in sound, the crowd appears to be less invested in these tracks and more engaged in the nostalgia of older tracks. ‘Changing Of The Seasons’ received one of the biggest singalongs despite sounding a bit dull by comparison. ‘I Can Talk’ and ‘Sun’ finished off the set, getting a lot of the venue dancing along. Their encore a typical drop in energy with one of their less popular tracks followed with one of their break out singles ‘What You Know’ from their debut album Tourist History.
Despite a fantastic performance from Two Door Cinema Club which must have satisfied many the inner teenager of many fans of the first two albums, I can’t help but mention the disappointment that with three bands on the bill not one of the combined 11 members were female. Not only is this uninspired from a music scene which has so many bands with female members who would have been a great fit to support Two Door Cinema Club but it also lead to the overall event being a little undynamic.