The rise of Two Door Cinema Club has been a stealthy one. Their first album, Tourist History, sold moderately well. And their recent album Beacon, didn’t set the charts alight either. Nevertheless, there has been something meteoric about the Irish band; their sold out gig at Brixton Academy will be followed by a show at Alexandra Palace in April, and they even landed a slot at the Olympic opening ceremony.
As they take to the stage tonight to positive ecstasy from the decidedly youthful crowd, the show feels like the result of that rare mix – hard work and knock out tunes. Tonight feels like a concerted effort to establish themselves in the big league. It’s difficult to deny their right.
They open with recent single Sleep Alone and, from then on, unleash a series of danceable indie-pop hits. Their setlist dips pretty evenly between both albums, and there are strobe lights, bursts of smoke and balloons. The crowd love it. High pitched screams greet every song and it’s a pretty dazzling example of how to entertain. Every song is delivered flawlessly and without embellishment, with the confidence of a band content in the knowledge that their armoury of songs has more than enough hits to please.
Admittedly, songs from Tourist History still garner the wildest responses. Undercover Martyn and Something Will Do Good send everyone particularly mental. It was effectively an album of singles, and each one is met like a classic. However, the new album is clearly a development and they sound more muscular and considered than their earlier days. Not as instantly gratifying, the newer songs are lyrically more complex and have more depth. Recent single Sun is the highlight of the evening, capturing everything that is good about the band – lyrics about being an outsider, a razor sharp guitar line and a massive chorus. Alex Trimble’s voice has a vulnerable quality to it and guitarist Sam Halliday has an amazing ability to deliver spindly, wiry riffs that instantly stick in your head time and time again. When they’re firing from all cylinders, it’s hard to think of a better pop-rock band currently out there at the moment.
Two Door Cinema Club seem to have astutely sidestepped any difficult second album syndrome by amplifying their strengths, and this is evident in their performance. Whilst some songs slightly misfire (Sleep Alone and Someday don’t have the energy you expect them to), an epic rendition of Pyramids goes down a storm and a beautiful While The World Is Watching shows an unexpected level of emotion.
Fun as they are, they’re never going to define a generation; their songs are anthemic in an unthreatening way, but they will never be another Libertines or Strokes. If you were being unkind, you’d say they make guitar music for people who don’t like guitar music. But that’s no bad thing, and Two Door Cinema Club have a strange knack of making you feel very kind. And indeed, if rock and roll is about making teenage girls go crazy, they are certainly doing something right.
What’s abundantly clear is the confidence the band possess. Considering their age (all are in their early 20s), they bestride the stage like a 5,000 strong crowd means nothing to them. Except it does, and therein lies their charm. Although they now sing about addiction and depression, Two Door Cinema Club seem like nice guys. This is not a band that comes with ridiculous rider demands and rock star attitude. With goodwill and an ear for radio friendly guitar pop, they seem hell bent on converting a new generation to indie-pop and penetrating the current David Guetta-dominated radio playlists. With a show as good as this, it seems nothing will stop them.