Two Door Cinema Club needed a break.
By the end of 2013, they’d been touring for nearly five years straight and were starting to hate each other. A trio of friends since childhood, they decided to take some time apart — with no timetable for reconvening to continue the career that had taken them from Northern Ireland’s tiniest clubs to festival stages around the world.
Lead vocalist Alex Trimble moved to Portland and holed up with all sorts of pills. Bassist Kevin Baird ditched the drugs while in LA, and guitarist Sam Halliday found love in London. It was a necessary end to a long stint supporting their 2010 debut, Tourist History, and 2012’s follow-up, Beacon.
Now the band is back, fully refreshed. They began work on album three sometime mid-2015, and we finally got our hands on the disco-infused Gameshow last month. A North American tour kicked off last week, and Saturday night its third stop was The Fillmore Philadelphia.
If there’s one thing to take away from Saturday’s gig, it’s that the time off did nothing but good things for TDCC. Refreshed could be an understatement — on that Fillmore stage they appeared recharged to a voltage immeasurable. The new tunes were brought to life with an intensity that’s hard to grasp when listening to the studio recordings. And as for the old songs, they sounded as good as ever.
New Zealand electro-pop duo Broods warmed up the evening with a set that delivered pretty much all you can ask for in an opening act. They too are fresh off the release of new album, with their sophomore effort Conscious dropping back in June. I had seen Broods two years ago at a college show around the release of their first album Evergreen, and the evolution from then to now was obvious. They’ve added a couple new live members for a much more dynamic show. Frontwoman and vocalist Georgia Nott was all over the stage, and her brother Caleb captained the instrumentals from the helm of his rig in the back. With hit track “Bridges” and the more recent “Couldn’t Believe” closing out the 35-ish-minute set, a sold out crowd was primed for what they’d paid to see — TDCC.
Right out of the gate, our headliners fired off some classics. Four Tourist History tracks led off, and eight of the album’s ten would be played by the end of the night. “Cigarettes In The Theater,” both the concert and album’s first song, made fans feel like it was 2010 all over again. And judging by the volume the crowd was shooting back towards the stage — my brother later confessed he couldn’t even hear the tune’s guitar part from where he stood — that was fine by them. It was loud, it was chaotic and it was a blast.
Of course, there was still the new record to promote. The middle portion of the set featured five of Gameshow’s finest, and I admit they were more enjoyable than expected. This new album was a risk for TDCC, something they’ve said they had to do after playing it safe on Beacon. No longer is the band indie-pop darlings, but more like disco dudes longing for a different decade. A younger me would’ve felt betrayed by the change in pace from a group whose original form I was crazy about, but I’ve come to appreciate and admire the boldness it takes to tinker with a working formula.
Now, some of the new songs don’t differ too much from the TDCC of albums past. Gameshow’s title track and the lead single, “Are We Ready? (Wreck),” provided just as much of a rush as vintage favorites like “Undercover Martyn” and “Sleep Alone.” They’re all-out jams that leave you needing a breather afterwards. Luckily, the funky freshness of newer ones like “Bad Decisions” and “Fever” offered the required respite. Instead of jumping around, fans jived and grooved. It’s songs like these that really distinguish this era of TDCC from the old days.
The different mood proved to be helpful when the tail end of the show got in gear. “I Can Talk” released the inhibitions of anyone still holding back. The crowd surfers were on the loose. Baird made a point to recognize the passion, as he noted the fact that this show, being one of the first on the tour to sell out, was one the band was looking forward to as well. Beacon standout “Sun” then lead them off stage with a great deal of excitement, only to be upstaged by none other than their first and biggest hit, “What You Know.”
Maybe it’s just because we caught them early on this short tour, but the energy only seemed to build as the set developed — an awfully encouraging note considering the band needed that 18-month break so badly. So, coming from a long-time fan but first-time witness, there’s no need to worry about the direction TDCC is headed. The songs that got me hooked have never been stronger, and the guys behind them are clearly still all-in. Their new form isn’t as far from what it once was as some might think, and the aspects that are different are wonderfully daring. What I saw on stage Saturday might not have been the exact same TDCC I fell in love with, but it’s certainly a version worth loving.
Take a look at some more photos from the gig in the gallery below.
Cigarettes In The Theater
Do You Want It All?
This Is The Life
Changing of the Seasons
Something Good Can Work
Are We Ready? (Wreck)
I Can Talk
Eat That Up, It’s Good For You
What You Know
- Categorized Under:
- CONCERT REVIEWS