2016 was a year of ups and downs in the music world, the death of Bowie, Prince and the tragic loss of Viola Beach, to the return of Radiohead, the bonkers life of Kanye West and the dominance of Drake. However, music always knew how to cheer the world up. For me it produced a shinning light through all those gloomy moments taking place across the world that wed see on the news, or have to confront in life. Having seen over 80 different bands and artists this year, The Temper Trap would close my year of unforgetable gigs and festivals.
Being a fan of the Australian 4 piece ever since their breathtaking debut ‘Conditions’ and never had the chance to see them until Reading festival, where, after leaving Biffy Clyro to catch the band, I knew I had to see them again.
Before I entered the venue, I had the tricky task of navigating the longest cue id ever seen for a gig. Both Temper Trap and popular singer songwriter James Arthur were playing at the same venue, so inevitably the cue was outrageous, stretching almost as far as The Rainbow.
Having entered the venue, I arrived just in time to catch support band Tempesst, and Australian five piece who draw similarities with Peace and Tame Impala with their funky, groovy psych beats. Im sure they left Birmingham with a few more fans on their tale, proving to be a wildly entertaining support act.
The Temper Trap began with the brilliant lead single from their third album of the same name ‘Thick As Thieves’ with a tremendous bass rhythm which echoed through the venue and heavy plummeting drums and those passionate and always superb, choir boy vocals from lead singer Dougy Mandagi.
Classic song ‘Love Lost’ was played next. the first chords of the song were met by applauds and cheers for one of the bands most celebrated works. The emotion ran through the song, with Joseph Geer playing his guitar eleigently and to perfection. Never missing a beat. A complete contrast from the more indie rock tune Love Lost into the dancey and pop songs ‘Fall Together’ which shreds away the guitars and replaces them with a superb synth, and ‘Burn’ which includes the guitar, however a catchy passionate chorus sticks to your mind like glue. Again Dougys vocals as sensational as ever.
For me one of the highlights of the night was the band playing ‘Fader’ for the first time live since 30th December 2014, and only the 10th time in 4 years. When the intro kicked in everyone knew what it was. Fader is one of my all time favourite songs from when i was young, having the chance to hear the riff heavy, upbeat anthem was sensational.
The trio of new album tracks ‘So Much Sky’, Ordinary World’ and ‘Summers Almost Gone’ all showed the direction of ‘Thick As Thieves and the intensity of the bands set, being able to slow things down and then speed the intensity back up. ‘Ordinary World’ featuring a mix of the choir like vocals of Dougy and a hip-hop beat you’d expect to fond on a Drake album. ‘So Much Sky’ being a catchy, and bubbly song with a call and response being enticed by the audience.
‘Science Of Fear’ followed, the synth heavy beats of the monumental track tied in with the bass and drums make for a brilliant live track. This was an extremely passionate vocal performances, with Dougy pounding the microphone on his chest and pointing to the crowd, raising his arms in the air and looking above.
‘Alive’ appeared to be a highlight of the show. One of the more catchy and groovy songs on The Temper Traps 3rd album had a relatively tame crowd moving and swaying, before fan favourite ‘Drum Song’ kicked in. The mixture of plucky riverbed guitars which drew resemblance to early Foals or Bloc Party, pierce through the loud and inviting drums being played by both drummer Toby Dundas and lead singer Dougy who was hitting a large kick drum with a hefty drum stick.
With that came the encore. With the band returning back to the stage, the crew had wrapped up their guitars and bass in christmas wrapping paper, producing laughs and smiles amongst the crowd.
The soft and mellow guitar notes at the beginning of heartbreaker ‘Soldier On’ and the beautifully crafted vocals, send chills down the spines of the audience. The combination of atmospheric guitars and bass from all members of the band create an emotional presence in the room. When the second verse kicks in with the quicker and much harder guitar played by Dougy, along with his passionate vocals which haunt the audience, the crowd begin to throw the lyrics back at the band, following screams and cheers when he hits high notes.
The final song of the evening, and the one on everyones lips was Sweet Disposition. It would be the bands final show of the year, and for a lot of other people, their final gigs of the year. To go out and end the year with this song was special. Played enticingly and caressingly the band thanked the crowd the evening, and for the year, wish everyone a Merry christmas and slowed into the emotional track. People in the crowd were reduced to tears of joy, whilst others were jumping with joy. It was an emotional experience which was haunting, yet passionate from a band who exceed all expectations.
To say this was a good way to end a year of seeing some of your favourite bands would be an understatement. It was the perfect way to end and almost unforgettable year of music.
The Temper Trap played;
- Thick As Thieves
- love lost
- Fall Together
- Trembling Hands
- Rabbit Hole
- So Much Sky
- Ordinary World
- Summers Almost Gone
- Science Of Fear
- Drum Song
- Soldier On
- What If I’m Wrong
- Sweet Disposition