two door cinema club

Concert Review: Two Door Cinema Club, St. Lucia, Peace, Oct 15, Danforth Music Hall

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With two chart topping albums of pure pop perfection under their wings, you could say that Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club are feeling mighty good about themselves. Their fans must have felt pretty good as well, as the band made the ultra smart decision to play two small shows in their stint in Toronto last week instead of one gigantic show. I was fortunate enough to catch the second one on Tuesday night at the Danforth music hall.

Opening the show were two bands who most definitely hope to attain a similar level success as Two Door Cinema Club. First off was England band Peace. My god. are they young. So young. The four piece act had all the signature English rock band traits – floppish mod inspired hair, an affinity for black clothes, rail thin stature and a ton of swagger. My god were they thin. Are they malnourished? Is English food really that bad? I mean, I always have good meals in London but then I usually eat at nice places. I wonder what the food quality is like at just default normal places. If it’s that bad then god bless. Maybe it’s a drug habit. Hopefully it is.

Peace follows in lines of fellow Brit rockers in trying to capture that magic that will elevate them above mediocrity. Stringing together danceable beats with friendly sounding guitar riffs and choruses designed for singalongs, Peace seems to bring together elements from early Foals but geared more towards a radio friendly sound. It all seemed very pleasant and the younger kids in the all ages seemed to dig it based on the pitch levels of the screams. The lead singer of Peace reminded me a bit of young Richard Ashcroft, minus the heroine. Maybe he just hides it better, I dunno.

Next up was St. Lucia, a band clearly on the rise. Their Wrongbar show earlier this year is still talked about today and with the highly touted debut album When Night Calls just released, the group seems primed for “the jump”. Decked out in colourful Hawaiian shirts, the group did their best to revive the 80’s with a synth heavy, somewhat tropical, almost Yacht Rock worthy sound. I think this band will definitely benefit from a larger budget, so that they can bring out an actual saxophone player for those key sax moments rather then have it played from a sample. Live sax makes everything better. I am impressed with Jean-Philip Grobler’s voice, although some of the higher notes seem a bit of a stretch. Still, the band put on a very lively show that had people dancing. The highlight for me was the slow burner All Eyes on You aka the power rock ballad that the 80’s forgot. It’s one of the best songs from the summer and was equally good live (but could have used a live sax player). The tropical vibes of Wait for Love makes me want to order girly drinks with an umbrella in it and start a conga line. I almost feel like St. Lucia would benefit even more if they brought some foliage on screen and played to a backdrop of montages. The future is bright for these chaps.

There’s no doubt that the night’s headliners – Two Door Cinema Club have mastered the “formula”. Somehow they have found the perfect sequence of rhythm and melodies that allow them to crank out single after single of highly danceable, highly enjoyable pop tracks. Despite a host of similar sounding songs, it’s basically impossible to dislike the band. I think we are all genetically predisposed to enjoy their music. The band took the stage to the shrieks of their fans and promptly launched into a series of hits. The band’s hooks are just so consistently good that I spent most of the show trying to figure out their formula – is it the three word/syllable choruses? is it the subtle rhythm shift whenever they go to chorus? The easy to learn lyrics? I couldn’t quite figure it out, and that’s probably why I’m writing a review of a show rather than in a band. It speaks volume for a band that they can play over an hour of samey sounding music and still come off as pretty damn good.

Overall a very enjoyable night of fine pop music.

Lollapalooza Day 3 Review: Mowgli’s, Two Door Cinema Club, Vampire Weekend

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Vampire Weekend

Editor’s note: This is day 3 of Celeste’s coverage of Lollapalooza

Winner of “everyone obviously only knew one song and was waiting for that one song to be played” for Lolla Sunday: Mowgli’s. These guys played the BMI stage and it was packed (I headed there when I got bored of Lianne La Havas – I’m sure she’s great but she’s not fantastic as festival fare) and everyone just chatted throughout the entire set until they got to “San Francisco” and then it was just one big sing-a-long.

Best timing of Lollapalooza Sunday: Alt-J. Ran from Two Door Cinema Club to Alt-J just in time to catch dissolve me. Perfect. I’ve heard great things about this band but as was the theme of Lolla Sunday they weren’t great festival fare.

Lolla Sunday band that sounded the best as I breezed by on my way to another stage: Waaves.

Most impressively packed crowd of Lolla Sunday: Two Door Cinema Club. It’s hard to gauge at festivals how popular an act is going to be, but I did not expect Two Door Cinema Club to pack the huge Bud Light stage. They weren’t quite as fun as I thought they were going to be (as in, I thought they were going to be wearing outrageous outfits and rocking out, but in fact they were wearing suits and they were rather staid) but they were spot on music-wise.

Best food of Lollapalooza: River Valley Kitchen portabello mushroom tamales. Jum.

Overall Winner of Lollapalooza: Vampire Weekend. Halley once saw a band try to cover a Vampire Weekend song – they apparently couldn’t keep up with the fast paced beat of the song and fell flat on their face. Halley then gained major respect for Vampire Weekend, because she figured if it was that hard to cover their stuff they must be pretty talented to play it in the first place. Being her little sister I of course follow blindly behind and believe everything she believes, so I was pretty damn excited when I found out they were playing Lolla. They did not disappoint. Starting with Cousins – one of my favorites, and ending with Walcott – another one of my favorites – and hitting every amazing, bubbly, fast paced chord perfectly on pitch, Vampire Weekend had every man woman and child busting out their finest dance moves from the front row to the last. Normally I’m all about hitting the small stages and getting up close and personal with the band, but it did not make the slightest difference how far away from Vampire Weekend you were. Their energy radiated out to the farthest reaches.

Concert Review: Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club, Kool Haus, Sept 17

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Toronto – It’s amazing what a few extremely catchy tracks and a hard working ethos can get you these days. A great example of this would be Two Door Cinema Club, a Northern Irish indie pop band signed to the ever so popular Kitsune label. The band released their debut record Tourist History early last year and has remained on the indie radar ever since, largely due to extensive touring. In that time, they have seen singles like Something Good Can Work, I Can Talk and What You Know reach modest success on the charts. Yet here they were, Saturday night, playing a sold out Kool Haus on the same album barely a year after making their Toronto debut at the tiny Wrongbar.

With an already excited crowd in hand, TDCC took the stage shortly after eleven and regaled the willing crowd with their brand of accessible indie pop music. The band certainly can write some wonderful hooks and the live versions of their songs certainly come off as energetic, as evident by the semi mosh pit that erupted from opening track Cigarettes in the Theatre to the set closer I Can Talk. The band mostly stuck with the music, and didn’t really say much to the crowd aside from the obligatory thank-yous but the crowd treated it all the same, showing love from the get go. My only problem with the band is that all their songs seem to have the same drum beat and follow the same formula (gentle verses, singalong chorus) , but hey, why fix something that clearly isn’t broken?

I Can Talk by Two Door Cinema Club

Opening for TDCC was Bombay Bicycle Club, a band that took a slower rise to the top (well, they really are at midpoint, probably). Mixing new tracks off A Different Kind of Fix with a few older, more familiar material, Bombay Bicycle Club got a great response from the crowd with their folk but really kinda rock brand of music. I felt mostly average about the show, but this was during a week where I saw some extravagant acts so perhaps three guys with guitars singing their hearts out didn’t really register with me as much as it would other people.