The last year has seen the trio explode before our very eyes, and this was a fevered Manchester’s chance to get in on the party. Given the last time the boys played the city it was in the intimate surroundings of Sound Control, it’s testament to their ever increasing fan base that they’ve been able to skip the likes of The Ritz and sell out two consecutive nights at the 3,500 capacity venue. But would Alex, Sam and Kev cut the mustard in such prestigious surroundings?
Helping them on their way were lively South London four piece Bastille; a band that had in my head at least, seemingly cropped up from nowhere. Clearly I’ve been living under a rock for the last year. As soon as front man Dan Smith hit the stage the Apollo was ablaze. Screams ensued from every corner and every track was accompanied with devoted dancing and word perfect renditions. Ardor exuded from the stage and instantly invigorated the crowd. It’s fair to say they had me at ‘hello Manchester’ – I was genuinely excited by their execution.
With a mix of heavy percussion, jerky electro beats and sonorous, alleviating vocals they soared. ‘Overjoyed’ proved a pivotal moment, with Smith’s saccharine, harmonious and rich voice taking centre stage. And then it all became clear; these boys were behind the song that’s been buzzing around my head for the last few months – ‘Of The Night’. The cover of ‘Rhythm Of The Night’ that has been accompanying a certain Sunday night television show’s adverts. Taken from last year’s ‘Other People’s Heartache’ mix tape, the accompanying free for all cogent drumming had us in a tiz. Finishing up on current, highly infectious single ‘Pompeii’ with all its strident drumming and patent vocals, they kept the crowd absorbed throughout and well and truly whetted our appetite for their headline tour in March. An unblemished example of how to own a support slot and ensure you’ve etched your name firmly in the minds of the revellers.
With the crowd suitably whipped into a stupor, it was almost time for the main event, but not before we’d had some old school trance and electronica in the form of Darude, Robert Miles and N-Trance blasted into our eardrums via the PA. A facund choice I must say. And then the lights went down and on bounded the Bangor boys. With the steadfast crowd nigh on hysterical, the opening bars of 'Sleep Alone' echoed and what ensued was a 90 minute, full-on attack of the senses (and calves, if the morning-after-the-danceathon was anything to go by).
I’ve seen this band countless times and it always amazes me how damn right competent they are. They have every box ticked. Visually they always have it nailed; tonight’s gigantic LED strips and abundant strobing pulsating effortlessly with every swipe of the guitar and beat of the drum. Instrumentally speaking they’re also, consistently more than tight. Sam’s cutting, convulsive riffs, Kev’s subaqueous, succulent bass and Alex’s more dulcet strumming entwined with Ben’s potent drumming. And then there’s the songs; they most definitely have the songs. Instantly recognisable, they dip in and out of Tourist Histroy and Beacon with copious amounts of zeal and birr.
One of the stand out moments came in the form Beacon’s album track ‘Settle’. With convoluted drumming and oscillating guitar, it showcased their more emotive song writing skills, hinting that they’ve had their moments of quandary. Sat at his keys, Alex accordantly bellowed; “this city will pull you in, romantic and dressed in sin, you only have a little time, until this place will swallow you whole” the poignancy most vivid and affecting. ‘The World Is Watching’ proved equally as spellbinding; Trimble’s vocals having matured and enriched considerably, resonating more concordant and beguiling than ever.
Juggernaut tracks ‘Something Good Can Work’ and ‘Eat That Up, It’s Good For You’ blustered with reinvigorated force and balloons, fittingly jangly and asymmetric and furthering the levels of delirium roaring from the mosh pit. The 19 song strong set saw them finish on the ever endearing ‘What You Know’. Trimble stood prominently for the opening bars in a blaze of gold spotlight glory and sporting his pristine quiff - there was a definite air of Elvis Presley about it all. And I’m pretty sure had you asked a few of the earnest, squealing girls at the front, they’d have certainly deemed him ‘The King’.
There’s no doubt that TDCC are a band in infinite ascendency, and it’s not hard to see why when they put in such an irreproachable performance. And you honestly can’t fault them; they’re polite, passionate and proficient. So much so I almost find myself wishing they would falter a little just to see what happens. Not a lot I should imagine - they’re a well oiled machine. Professionalism has always been the name of the game and the reason they’ve reached the heady heights of a sold out tour on this scale. And what’s rather humbling is that they don’t seem to have taken any of it for granted; Kev touchingly remarking they fondly remember being the first band of three on at Night and Day. My, how things have changed.
Words and photo: Michelle Lloyd
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