Review: Two Door Cinema Club

The Sound Academy, Toronto; Friday 5th October 2012

As the Two Door Cinema Club juggernaut rolled into town on the back of their second album ‘Beacon’, I was intrigued to find out what a Two Door Cinema Club gig was all about. Did they rock out live, swig Buckfast and propel themselves into the teaming masses of sweaty, presumably teenage girls? Who is TDCC’s average punter? Would I be the oldest person there? What exactly is so potent about the mix of these three young chaps from Norn Iron that has rocket-launched their career into stratospheric indie superstardom?

New York indie rockers Guards rock out with their, erm, guitars out, getting the crowd going with their discordant brand of grungy vintage fuzz rock swathed in dry ice. It’s like we’re watching The Old Grey Whistle test.  It’s an impressive support slot, but there’s no mistaking whose party this really is.

The crowd are whipped up into a pre-show frenzy on mad bad Euro-trash club bangers usually restricted to dodgy teenage discos held in rural Ireland circa the millennium. (Think ‘Club Welly’ on the Cooley Peninsula).  If someone put this shit on their iPod at your party, your night would be ruined and you’d probably kick them out. If someone played this crap aloud on their phone on the back of a bus – you’d probably be afraid they were about to stab you. But this is TDCC’s North American tour for their Number One selling second album, so hey, they can do whatever the fuck they desire. Watching the puzzled looks on the crowd faces’ (yes, they are mostly local teenage girls) is priceless as tunes like ‘Scatman’,  N-Trance’s ‘Only Love Will Set You Freeeeeeeee’, ‘The Launch’ and a horrendous squeaky-rave rendering of R-Kelly’s timeless classic ‘Ignition’ blast out of the speakers,  you can imagine the TDCC lads backstage knocking back the gold label Buckfast and doing their best ‘stackin’ the shelves’ dance. Keepin’ it real, yo.

They arrive onstage to the unmistakeable riff of new single ‘Sleep Alone’ and set the crowd alight – the slick light show of electric blue triangles and near impenetrable mist of dry ice adding to the air of ‘we mean bizness’.  The crowd go nuts and it’s clear from the get-go that both the band and crowd are here to have a good time. Energy levels are off tha hook – it must have been all that cheap rave.

Live, Two Door don’t stray too much from their recorded sound – they sound almost exactly like they do on record. They run the gamut through their back catalogue of short and sweet pop anthems ‘I Can Talk’, ‘Something Good Can Work’ and ‘Undercover Martyn’ – Spindle is amazed by how many we’ve absorbed by sheer radio play. These boys know how to write a killer hook.

It’s easy to see how TDCC made it to the top of their game. The positive energy they exude in interviews is also palpable onstage – TDCC work hard. Their boyish charms, Alex’s red hair and preppy dress sense and of course their lovely Northern Irish accents combining to make a charm offensive. In fact, it’d be a challenge not to enjoy yourself at one of their shows.

Tonight the lads come across as confident, tight and in control, with new songs like ‘Sleep Alone’ and ‘Sun’ getting a positive reaction. Some of the more piano driven new songs have a melodious air of classic Ben Folds Five about them – Alex clearly enjoying himself behind the ivories.

Sentiments revealed in recent interviews, about being young, coping with the pressures of touring the world, record contracts and missing their friends, are tackled on new songs. The repeated lyric of ‘Maybe someday, you’ll be somewhere/Talking to me, as if you knew me/Saying I’ll be home for next year darling/I’ll be home for next year’ has particular impact tonight.

For the encore, the lads let rip on ‘You’re Not Stubborn’ and blow the roof off. (Or a fuse at least.) The power cuts out just as they tease the crowd with the first bars of ‘What you know’ – after a few concerned glances between Alex and co, they take it in their stride and get an even better reaction second time around. At this stage teenagers all around us are LOSING their shit. It’s quite possible that this is the first live gig many of these kids have been to. They take the opportunity to crowd surf out the encore before their Moms arrive at the door to chaperone them home.

When TDCC finally bow out with a sweaty, exhausted standard: ‘Toronto, you’ve been awesome. We love this city!’ you can’t help but feel they’re just like an earnest Canuck wishing you a nice day – they actually mean it. And then The Bee Gee’s  ‘Stayin’ Alive’ comes flooding over the PA as we all shuffle out. Absolute heroes.

Words: Tia Clarke