by Caroline Smith
After the 2010 release of Irish indie rock band Two Door Cinema Club’s debut album Tourist History, I saw them perform in a much smaller venue in my hometown of Baltimore, so I was glad to see them progress to somewhere much bigger in 2016: Boston University’s Agganis Arena. The night started a little hectic— when I first arrived at the venue, I went on a wild goose hunt for my press pass in the depths of Agganis, and after realizing I had a plus one, stood outside in the cold waiting for my boyfriend to show up. We finally made it into the venue just a few minutes before the beginning of the first opener Magic Man’s set.
Even though Boston natives Magic Man had only 30 minutes to perform, they managed to engage the audience with a lot of excitement about the crowd (“This might just be the best show ever!” –vocalist and frontman Alex Caplow) and upbeat, high energy music. At times, I found that Caplow’s vocals were lacking, but he definitely made up for this in pure showmanship, as he essentially flailed about the stage for the entire time.
Next up was Broods, an electronic indie duo from New Zealand. Front woman Georgia Nott, dressed in all white, was absolutely the shining star of the band. She’s a strong singer and performer— she made great use of the stage space while she danced, and her voice held up incredibly well to all of the belting she did. I only had two main concerns: there were multiple times I wished her microphone would have been on louder because she kept getting drowned out by all the synths and keyboard, and at times it felt like she was carrying the show all on her own. Her keyboardist and backup vocalist was another highpoint for me, though, she had a similarly strong voice to Nott and their voices harmonizing was a really satisfying part of Broods performance.
Finally, Two Door Cinema Club came on stage, greeted by some corny hype music and epilepsy-inducing flashing lights. It kind of felt like I was preparing for a basketball game and not a concert (along with getting a headache), but maybe I’m just missing the art. The first song “Cigarettes in the Theatre” seemed to reflect these obnoxious lights, as the chorus goes, “Look past the blinding lights.” I was feeling adequately blinded, but the venue was packed with an enthusiastic crowd as TDCC went through multiple songs from their first album, Undercover Martyn, “Do You Want It All”, and “This Is The Life” followed their opening song. By this point in the concert, the microphone is on so unbelievably low that you can barely hear frontman Alex Trimble’s voice, and I am getting exceedingly bored of Tourist History after making the connection that all four songs they’ve played thus far have approximately the same drumbeat.
After this, however, they seem to hit their stride with “Bad Decisions,” the second single from their latest album Game Show. The song is peppered with Trimble’s falsetto vocals, plucky guitar from lead guitarist Sam Halliday, and probably the best drumming that I heard all night. All the members seemed to be really into playing the songs at this point in a way that I didn’t necessarily read from the band before that. Eventually, they go into performing a couple more songs from Game Show, “Good Morning” and “Je Viens de La”. These songs, particularly “Good Morning” stood out for me as the highlight of the entire concert; the songs were slower and a little less charged than others they played, especially after it became exceedingly clear here that Trimble is an impressively talented frontman—it almost seemed like he was acting with the way he was moving his arms, like he was Hamlet holding up the skull or something equally dramatic. Another highpoint was their stripped down version of Beacon’s “Someday” before finally closing with their most well-known and loved “What You Know”.
While it had its slow points, overall, I thought Two Door Cinema Club put on an impressive and engaging show. They proved themselves as talented and more refined musicians than the first time I saw them in 2011. With their third album, Two Door Cinema Club is definitely coming into both a musical and performance style that’s all their own.
‹ › × ×