The Temper Trap @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW Australia 22/11/2017 written by Brendan Lewis.
What a Sweet Disposition! Australia’s love-affair with home-grown indie-rock veterans The Temper Trap continue tonight, as the band take us on a casual first-date with some new music, along with all the beloved classic that fans adore of course, before the band give us a kiss good-bye for now, while they record album #4. Actually for me it’s date #10, and you know what they say about the tenth date! Don’t wait up kiddies…
With the show selling out quickly and the line of eager fans dominated by girls, rushing into the venue and heading straight up to the front as quickly as possible, I was expecting this date to be a hot, sweaty intimate one full of girly squeals if ya know what I mean. Instead no, as the lights go down and the band arrive on stage and welcome us with a “how you doing Sydney? It’s so good to be back!”, I still have plenty of personal space around me, and although the girly squeals have erupted now, everyone’s still relaxed and laid back as the band start the first song.
The guy’s always gotta bring flowers on a first date, and the band definitely have with the first song of the night, being the normally absent from the bands set-lists of late, up-beat party-anthem ‘Fader’. This song is a beautiful connection between the band and their fans in the audience, as Doug’s perfectly accurate climactic vocals are amplified brilliantly for the venue and mix of sound and resonate through us all in the audience, as we sing the melodic vocal harmony in the chorus, making it like a harmonious conversation between Doug’s stunning vocals and our harmonies. Even with the musical energy at a red-hot blaze, the vibe on stage and in the crowd around me is relaxed, intent and casual, this being complimenting to the intimacy and casualness of the show that other larger shows of theirs misses.
First impressions are important on a date, and ‘Fader’ definitely got off on just the right foot with us in the audience, now deeply enticed by the passionate sound. The passion keeps on coming with the next two songs heartfelt fan-favourite ‘Love Lost’ and new declaratory heart-warmer ‘Fall Together’. As soon as the first note of the keyboard hits for ‘Love Lost’, it’s like that exhilarating rush of excitement you get when you see your date walk into the restaurant looking their finest, no, not THAT rush fellas. As a result, the audience is left instantly attracted to the sound, with a burst of girly screams erupting from the audience as they, and the lighting, clap in accordance with the intro beat. For both these songs the crowd are hooked on Doug’s every passionate, exquisite notes with quivering seductive vibrato in his voice. Doug casually dances/grooves around on stage in a simple yet complimenting manner to the music, while Jonny and Joseph on bass and guitar respectively, move around and calmly rock out. After ‘Love Lost’, the next song starts which seems to be a taste of a new song, but is then stopped suddenly as Doug confesses “wrong song, sorry!” bringing a wave of laughter from the audience, as Doug laughs it off and blames the computer or something, it’s really like that moment when you give the waiter a receipt instead of a $50 note on a date…. I am blind remember. This mix-up I feel strongly compliments the casualness of this date, and I feel these little human-imperfections are what make a show special at times. Correcting their mistake, the band commence into ‘Fall Together’ bringing another out-burst of girly squeals. Doug show’s off the dynamic potential of his voice, with some perfectly clear and accurate emotionally powerful notes in the choruses, which he improvises ever so slightly at particular sections of the song, keeping the audiences attention focused.
We are now well and truly hitting it off together on this date (we being the audience, and the band), and it seems we are now ‘Thick As Thieves’, with the conversation getting deep and meaningful for ‘So Much Sky’, which leaves us with ‘Trembling Hands’ at the honest emotion displayed and leaves us feeling like complete ‘Fools’.
‘Thick As Thieves’ brings a contrasting thumping beat that gets the whole crowd dancing and energised, as Jonny on bass rocks out to the beat and the rest of the band sway and casually bust a move, enticing the audience. Just as this date’s getting heated, and the spark between the band and the audience has been ignited, the date takes a deeper turn with ‘So Much Sky’ which Doug let’s the audience sing the melodic hook in the songs’ intro, which echos beautifully throughout the venue, and compliments Doug’s stunning voice soaring above us shouting raw emotion. Doug now thanks us all, and heads straight into one of my personal favourites ‘Trembling Hands’ which sends euphoric tingles throughout my body with the vocal harmonies resonating within me, as Doug’s incredible sustained notes in the chorus are perfect to the recording and leaving me in total amazement at his perfectly executed vocals, which differ in the verses slightly to give the song a unique ‘in the moment’ atmosphere. ‘Fools’ moves the date into a darker, sexy tempting vibe (we all know where this date’s heading) with it’s enticing bass line intro, spine tingling crisp high vocals and the song climactically exploding nearing the end. I think I detect a stuff-up in the drumming for the first verse, but the band well and truly make up for it with it’s explosive end that gets the whole crowd rocking out with the band.
The band now give us a taste of a new song called ‘XO’ which Doug confesses that this is the first time they’ve ever played it live, so go easy on us and a few other nervous mutters. Just don’t over think it Doug, I’m sure you’ll do great, and besides, no-one’s ever perfect on their first go anyway. Oh, well perhaps Doug is the exception, because my ears don’t detect any fault, and this song leaves me quite satisfied with it’s funky-town bass lines and steady drum beats that differ in rhythm thumping away, keeping us interested, along with the band physically expressing the rock essence of the sound nicely, moving around in different positions, on the stage.
Doug now asks us what our thoughts were on that… you did great Doug, very satisfying. Now Doug announces that the next song is one they’ve actually recorded (‘Ordinary World’), which is followed by uplifting saucy dance-provoking anthem, ‘Alive’, then another new track titled ‘You Better’ and then finally, the instrumental energy surge ‘Drum Song’. All these songs displaying all 50 shades of The Temper Trap in their brilliant musical diversity, going from a sensual sway groove in ‘Ordinary World’ to an up-beat dance anthem in ‘Alive’ with Doug featuring maracas as his uplifting efficacious vocals shoot waves of excited energy into the crowd, and then turns to an amazing collaborative drum display between Toby on drums and Doug now on percussion in sync with one another for ‘Drum Song’ which makes the crowd go wild with applause.
Is that it? But I want more!
Of course, after a quick breather, the band return onto the stage thanking us from the bottom of their hearts, and pumps out three more loved tracks ‘Soldier On’ followed by the bands’ biggest hit, the euphoric out-cry of feel good powerful energy, ‘Sweet Disposition’ then lastly, ‘The Trouble With Pain’. ‘Sweet Disposition’ is absolutely beautiful! Doug’s sweet-soft voice in the verses then transitioning into a vocal harmony atop the audience singing the main lines of the pre-chorus, then Doug’s euphoric out-burst of spine-tingling vocal power in the choruses are exquisite, and with a big finish, truly brings the show to an explosive climax! With the shell-shocked audience still cheering, Toby on drums apparently indicates to Doug “one more”, this being ‘The Trouble With Pain’ which Doug explains never made it onto their second album, but they really wanted it, so instead is featured as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of the album and adds that this is a special one just for Sydney. This song finishing the night on a special feeling, leaving us all very satisfied and looking forward to another round in the near future!
This show was really like a well-flowed intimate, casual, special date between The Temper Trap and their fans and was a real treat experiencing their show in a stripped back, engaging form. I for one definitely look forward to the bands next release and the inevitably more extravagant shows that follow!