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Live Review: The Temper Trap and Florence and the Machine with the Kissaway Trail at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. – 6 April 2010

 
By on Monday, 12th April 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

The Washington, D.C. branch of TGTF were lucky enough to have tickets to the sold out Florence and the Machine / The Temper Trap double-header this past Tuesday at the 9:30 Club, and it was unforgettable night. For three bands that each have their own distinctive sounds and even come from different countries (Florence is British, the Temper Trap is Australian and opener The Kissaway Trail is Danish), having them on the same bill worked surprisingly well. Some of the audience was clearly there for only one band (there was a noticeable shift in the crowd between Florence and the Machine and the Temper Trap’s sets), but the majority of the crowd stayed throughout the whole show and enjoyed it immensely.

Danish indie band The Kissaway Trail opened the show with a short, 6-song set. Most of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with them, but by the end of their set were really getting into it. The band combined keyboards, drums, guitars, bass and tambourine to create a very rich sound without once sounding jumbled or too heavy – quite a feat, in my opinion, with that many musicians. One of the highlights of their set was “61,” a powerful track from their 2007 debut album, which had a gorgeous  5-part harmony. “New Year” was also very impressive, especially the long and intricate breakdown. Switching between different instruments and jumping around the stage, their energy and their passion for the music really showed, and that’s what won the audience over. They closed their set with single “SDP,” a song from their new album, “Sleep Mountain,” which they pointed out wasn’t coming out for a few more weeks in the US (it’s already out in the UK), but they had for sale anyway.

After their set, there was a palpable buzz in the air as the crowd eagerly anticipated Florence and the Machine’s set. To match her flowery backdrop, flowers were added to everything: amps, Florence’s mic, and even a drum they set up for her to play. When she finally came out in a black romper and a sheer glittery cape, the crowd went wild. Everything about her set was incredibly dramatic. Between her flaming red hair, her outfit, the fog and the flashing lights, she was captivating to watch. She used her cape and a shawl as props, taking them on and off throughout the set, and used careful hand and arm gestures for emphasis while she sang. Despite this, nothing came off as too stiff or too planned – she used dramatic poses when they suited the song, but was just as often running and jumping around the stage and encouraging the crowd to join in.

But while Florence Welch is stunning, people don’t go to her gigs to see her, they go to hear her. Her distinctive voice is very powerful and expressive live, somehow even more so than on her album. I never understood before what people meant when they thought her album was over-produced, but hearing her perform the songs live, it became obvious that her voice could easily carry the songs with half as many frills on top. Often the crowd would go silent listening to her sing, which was preferable to the times they tried to mimic her singing, a feat they obviously couldn’t pull off. But Florence didn’t seem to mind when the crowd butchered her songs, she was very touched that on her first time in America, on only the second night of the tour, people were singing along to all the songs. She didn’t speak much between songs, but when she did it was almost always to thank the audience for being so amazing. One of the most impressive things about her set was how well-planned the set list was: she started with less-known tracks like “Howl” and worked her way through more and more popular tracks, so that by the time she closed with her three best-loved songs, “Dog Days Are Over,” “You’ve Got the Love” and “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up!)”, the crowd was going crazy.

Because there was a noticeable shift in the crowd after Florence’s set, I was worried the crowd wouldn’t be as into the Temper Trap. And while a few overzealous Flo fans shouted her name when she came out onto the guest balcony with her band to watch, for the most part the crowd was loving them. While people were standing in awe a lot for Florence, they were grooving a lot more to Temper Trap. Lead singer Dougy’s soulful falsetto voice is also very distinctive, but in a completely different way to Florence’s. He had a lot of stage presence, shimmying and dancing as he played, and you could tell he put a lot of passion into his performance, as did the bassist. Several girls near the front seemed to find the band incredibly sexy no matter what they did, but I’d say the sexiest song of the night was the slowly building “Soldier On,” which they played in the middle of their set. In the beginning, the backing was minimal and it really showcased Dougy’s voice, but by the end they had built it up into something absolutely massive. Another song they slipped into the middle of their set was their best-known track, “Sweet Disposition.” It caught the audience off-guard and they went mental – absolutely everyone was singing along. “Resurrection” was also very popular. They brought out another drum for Dougy and put it in the middle of the stage. He then poured a bottle of water into it so that water splashed up really high when he played it. It looked incredible, and had the added bonus of being very refreshing for those of us in the front row. For the encore, they played a slower new song called “Rabbit Hole,” which went over well, and their most recent single, “Science of Fear,” which a lot of the audience seemed to know.

Coming out of the gig, my overall impression was how incredibly talented this group of musicians was. They used tricks and props to add drama, but it was all really about the music. To not only see such a diverse and talented group together, but to have them enjoy each others’ company so much and really enjoy touring together was a pleasure to watch.

Behind the Cut: Set Lists and Photos!

Continue reading Live Review: The Temper Trap and Florence and the Machine with the Kissaway Trail at 9:30 Club, Washington, D.C. – 6 April 2010

 

Album Review: the Temper Trap – Conditions

 
By on Monday, 8th March 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

It’s been quite a while since the Temper Trap‘s debut album ‘Conditions’ was released (June 2009 for the UK and October 2009 for America). But seeing that the Melbourne, Australia indie rockers will be headlining their first North American tour next week at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, I wanted to take a closer look at their first major release that made the top 25 in the UK albums chart.

Prior to reviewing the album, I was aware of probably the same two songs everyone else is, if they’ve been listening to UK radio over the last 6 months or so. ‘Sweet Disposition’ is arguably the song that broke them first in the UK (thanks to radio airplay) and then America (thanks to the young person romance film ‘(500) Days of Summer.’ Featuring the smooth falsetto of lead singer Dougy Mandagi and bouncy guitar, it’s one of those songs that I initially lumped in with “infinite”-sounding tracks like Delphic’s ‘Counterpoint’, but then later realised they were completely different (the Temper Trap going for the indie rock sound vs. Delphic’s more electronic bent). The album’s opening track ‘Love Lost’ sounds like the younger brother of ‘Sweet Disposition’ – a bit more jazzier at times but falling short of its elder sibling.

‘Fader’, the other song in question, is completely different, and in my opinion, it’s one of the better tracks on the album. A very summery pop song, it’s got “ooh ooh oohs” that encourage the listener to join in (and don’t even try to tell me haven’t sung along or at least once played air guitar upon hearing it). Interestingly, Mandagi’s voice in this sounds like he’s from the Deep South (think of Caleb Followill’s drawl in Kings of Leon‘s ‘Revelry’). Had I not known this band was from Oz, I’d probably made the completely incorrect assumption they were from Dixie.

Falsettos can certainly divide: some people love songs sung in a falsetto voice, and some don’t. I’m on the fence – I didn’t get the warblings of Hayden Thorpe (Wild Beasts) but now I’ve come to understand the appeal, and anything Muse‘s Matt Bellamy sings in a high register is okay by me. And Mandagi’s voice is the problem I see with the Temper Trap achieving mass appeal. It’s certainly not in the instrumentation – the guitars and drumming are spot on, so I’m imagine they easily kill it live. But if you aren’t a fan of the falsetto, you probably won’t dig songs like ‘Soldier On’ and ‘Fools’.

Much better is ‘Science of Fear’, supposedly released as the second single from the album but I’d never heard previously because it didn’t do a thing in any of the major countries’ album charts. On this track, the falsetto is smartly reined in and set off by fine, swirly guitars and astronaut communications. This song easily beats out anything put out by more popular American rock bands like Paramore and Fall Out Boy.

The most unique track on here is the band’s final bow, with ‘Drum Song’. It’s entirely instrumental, and at least to me, it’s entirely unexpected, and the band get kudos from me for it. But it should be noted that even on the songs with lyrics, the Temper Trap sound a bit proggy, if that’s at all possible for the 21st century. Overall, it’s a good effort for a debut album but they haven’t hit it out of the park on their first go-around. I’d be interested to see where they go for album #2.

6/10

The Temper Trap’s ‘Conditions’ is available now in the UK on Infectious Records.

 

2009 XFM Winter Wonderland Announced: Razorlight + more

 
By on Wednesday, 11th November 2009 at 3:58 pm
 

Local Natives (side)The lineup for the 2009 XFM Winter Wonderland in London has been announced.

Razorlight, The Temper Trap, The Big Pink, Bombay Bicycle Club, Local Natives (pictured right), Goldhawks and Cassidy will all play the gig, taking place at the O2 Academy in Brixton on Wednesday 16 December 2009 – just over a month away. With that many bands I doubt there will be much of the usual “standing around looking bored”, which is what we like to see.

Don’t be at all surprised if there are some top-secret “special guests” as well… we might well be wrong, but it’s always possible…

Many of the live sets will be broadcast on XFM.

Tickets are available to purchase for just £25 from the Xfm Xchange 084547 83936 or at See Tickets

Meanwhile the Manchester leg of the Christmas shows has sold out, featuring Delphic, Frank Turner, The Cribs and Echo & The Bunnymen.

 

The Temper Trap / April and May 2010 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 28th October 2009 at 1:07 pm
 

The Temper Trap have announced a new tour for mid 2010 to continue their meteoric rise to stardom here in the UK.

Tickets are on sale now for all of these dates. Catch the Melbourne guys at:

Tuesday 27th April 2010 – Bournemouth O2 Academy
Wednesday 28th April 2010 – London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Thursday 29th April 2010 – London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Saturday 1st May 2010 – Cardiff University
Monday 3rd May 2010 – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 4th May 2010 – Birmingham O2 Academy
Wednesday 5th May 2010 – Norwich UEA
Friday 7th May 2010 – Liverpool O2 Academy
Sunday 9th May 2010 – Manchester O2 Academy
Monday 10th May 2010 – Newcastle O2 Academy
Tuesday 11th May 2010 – Leeds O2 Academy
Thursday 13th May 2010 – Glasgow ABC
Friday 14th May 2010 – Edinburgh HMV Picture House

 

Live Review: The Temper Trap at Bristol Thekla – 22nd September 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd September 2009 at 1:40 am
 

The Temper Trap at Bristol's Thekla (side)The Temper Trap‘s debut album, Conditions, has been a slow burner of my summer. Gorgeous anthems that just stink of summer romances, I knew I had to catch them again after I was introduced to them at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Swindon.

Taking to the stage at Bristol’s Thekla (a gorgeous floating nightclub that used to be a boat) at 9:30 sharp, they ploughed through the entirity of their debut album, full of energy and looking like they were just starting out (and hadn’t been on the road for almost a year). Things started off strongly but rather tepid with “Rest” and “Fader”, before the big hits were rolled out towards the end.

Banter was kept to a minimum from the band apart from the usual “Hello”‘s and “Thank You”‘s. Lead Singer Dougy Mandagi also took the time to introduce Jeff, a 6-foot something afro’d guy who has been at numerous Bristol gigs I’ve been to, for giving them “so much support with all that jumping”.

Closing out the main set with the triple header of “Sweet Disposition”, “Resurrection” and the “Drum Song”, they knew just what their strengths were. The pop-tastic anthemic nature of Sweet Disposition had everyone jumping to rock the boat, screaming at the top of their lungs “A moment, a love, a dream, aloud, so stay there, cause I’ll be coming over”. Sweetness indeed. Resurrection maintained this, whilst Drum Song gave everyone a chance to rock out, strobes galore, jumping all over the shop, hair flying around the place. This is what music should be – fun, memorable, and meaningful. Amazing.

After the jump: Photos and setlist
Continue reading Live Review: The Temper Trap at Bristol Thekla – 22nd September 2009

 

The Temper Trap / September 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Wednesday, 15th July 2009 at 2:30 pm
 

The Temper Trap have announced a string of UK tour dates for September around the UK.

The slowly rising stars will play a string of dates to round off a successful summer of playing festivals. Tickets are on sale now for all dates.

Friday 18th September 2009 – Norwich Arts Centre
Saturday 19th September 2009 – Oxford O2 Academy 2
Monday 21st September 2009 – Leeds Cockpit
Tuesday 22nd September 2009 – Bristol Thekla
Wednesday 23rd September 2009 – London Relentless Garage
Thursday 24th September 2009 – Newcastle Cluny
Saturday 26th September 2009 – Glasgow King Tuts
Sunday 27th September 2009 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Monday 28th September 2009 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds
Tuesday 29th September 2009 – Brighton Audio

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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