Two Door Cinema Club have always made a point of supporting other local artists. As the band at the head of the queue when it comes to Irish breakthrough acts in 2010, they’re in a great position to do so, too, and the inclusion of Belfast’s Not Squares and our very own up and coming scene darlings The Cast Of Cheers is – and we heard this straight from the horse’s mouth – a show of love for what’s going on around Two Door.
Not Squares, though, are an odd choice for this show. Tripod’s inevitably stuffed to the rafters with barely post-teens, and Not Squares brand of danceable, heavily improvised, bleepy synth rock is a bit too… well frankly too weird for the assembled throng. Not Squares don’t help matters by arranging themselves in a tiny block in the middle of a large stage, but State are left with a sense that the northerners are distinctly under appreciated: they’re imaginative, infectious and at times genuinely absorbing. No one here seemed to notice.
The Cast Of Cheers, though, have no such trouble. We’ve become used to the Dubliners tearing up stages across the city in truly raucous displays of pent up energy fused with genuinely infectious math rock. Tonight was never going to be a patch on their frenzied headline shows, but the boys do bring out a handful of new tracks (a touch slower and more tuneful than the material on ‘Chariot’) and hammer home the likes of ‘I Am Lion’ and ‘Auricom’ with their usual mix of tense vocals, mind-melting guitar trickery and memorable dance-rock loops. These guys are utterly incapable of playing at anything less than full blast, and the swinging of hips and throwing of shapes they’ve induced by the end suggests they’ve just won a few new fans.
There’s only one band everyone came for, though, and that’s Bangor’s returning heroes. Having spent the best part of the last few months touring the US and East Asia, appearing on national television in the UK and Ireland and generally hammering home the success of debut ‘Tourist History’ in a big way, Two Door Cinema Club have already secured their status in the UK and Ireland, and are edging their way towards a more international status. Tonight’s show offers us a first glance at where things are going next. The set is short and sweet at a mere hour in length, and meanders through the big hitters, but squeezes in newbie ‘Kids’ and a track lined up for their recording-in-the-New-Year second album. We’ll hazard a guess that it’s about Alex being threatened by a junkie with a broken bottle (disclaimer: they told us about it in interview).
Two Door are clearly delighted to be here, and while their live show – new tracks aside – is largely a fairly straight up rendition of what’s on the album, it’s performed with a crisp, clean and nicely bulked-up sound, and goes down like a Bank Of Ireland cash machine after a database malfunction. From the very start, the entire packed ground floor of the Tripod is bouncing, flailing and stumbling about to the beat, with Alex and Kevin offering the occasional nod of encouragement, going for the cheesy winner with “we love you more than Belfast, but don’t tell them” and smiling to themselves as their young crowd threatens to take the roof off the place.
Two Door’s music, to be fair, is probably more original than they’re often given credit for. Appearing on countless adverts and playing in a style that’s so accessible doesn’t help your cause with the ‘indie’ crowd, but the live show is enough to convert most, with the fast-paced ‘Something Good Can Work’ and dance off inducing ‘You’re Not Stubborn’ proving the highlights. Things are polished off with a frantic rendition of ‘I Can Talk’, the ‘oh’s echoing around the building. If nights like tonight show one thing, it’s that Two Door Cinema Club have firmly established themselves with the kids, not just as flavor of the month, but perhaps as band of the year. With that in mind, album number two – and any number of shows in a venue like Tripod – should be a walk in the park.
Photo by Johanna Giudice