The Drums at Portsmouth Pyramids Centre (6/12/11)


Following the release of their second LP Portamento, The Drums were out to prove something tonight. After album one, many considered them a flash-in-the-pan hipster band stitched together from every generic indie influence under the sun, but from this performance it can be seen that the band’s unique take on pop music has strengthened with time. The group are completely comfortable in their own sound; rather than checking their hair in the mirror whilst obnoxiously performing ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, as some may have hoped, the band roused the audience to incredible levels considering the shortness of their career.

Support was provided by The History of Apple Pie and Cloud Control. The aforementioned were a semi-decent hybrid of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Placebo who, despite playing listenable songs, failed to ignite the stage. Australian-based Cloud Control were another story, however, captivating the audience with their multi-layered and multi-genred songs. A particular highlight was ‘Golden Canary’, the audience’s hugely receptive nature towards said song being almost unheard of for a support band.

Now while I understand that music is undeniably about the quality of the songs, it must be noted that The Drums’s stage presence was perfect. The band knew exactly what the public expected from them from the moment frontman Jonathan Pierce strangely danced onto the stage. Throughout the show, the rest of the band’s static coolness allowed him to become the charismatic focal point, something that audiences now expect from witnessing his moves in the band’s music videos. Bearing in mind that The Drums are a pop band, there was always a pit somewhere in the crowd; the audience were constantly energetic, responding even to the lesser-known songs like hyper children. It is a testament to the band’s catchiness that such simple songs could procure such frenzied reactions.

Aside from the band using their reputation and image to perfect use with their onstage presence, the songs were also faultless. Opener ‘Me and the Moon’ and follow up ‘Best Friend’ were recognised by almost everyone present, with the whole crowd dropping the basic rules of grammar by singing along enthusiastically with the line “You are my best friend but then you died”. ‘Book of Stories’ and recent single ‘Money’ were also met with rapture, and perfectly summarised the upbeat, joyous pace that ran throughout. The songs from Portamento seemed to be less recognised than those from the first album, but they were nonetheless well received by the audience showing that the band have a keen ear for creating tunes that can be instantly enjoyed.

The slower songs were also effective. The best example of this was ‘Down By the Water’, which saw the audience passionately retorting to the ballad’s melancholic chorus, made ever more present by the sparse musical accompaniment. Similarly, ‘Forever and Ever Amen’ was brilliantly received and saw the whole audience desperately clasp towards Pearce as he lent into the crowd.

Overall, the band created such a spectacle of a show that one barely noticed the absence of their biggest hit ‘Let’s Go Surfing’. The Drums are clearly no one-hit wonders; they are capable of appealing directly to their fanbase through a combination of brilliant songs and a unique stage presence that was undeniably a product only they could create. The band put on a very enjoyable show that leaves me wondering where they will go next.

Rating: 9/10


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