"We worship you in St. Pete!" yelled a voice in the crowd mid-way through The Temper Trap's set last Tuesday night at State Theatre, speaking on behalf of everyone there as the room filled with hoots and hollers in agreement. Knowing the band traveled halfway across the world — from Melbourne, Australia — and performed for a full house on their first time ever playing here tells me they must be doing something right. [Text by Valerie, photos by Tracy.]
Kicking off the night, Los Angeles natives The Neighbourhood pumped out Calfornia lovin', hip hop-imbued numbers with a folk-indie twist. The five-piece band, dressed all in black, grooved through their 30-minute set with delicate vocals layered over hollow strings and solid drumbeats.
The room darkened as The Temper Trap hit the stage, and flashing red strobe lights matched the thumping basslines of opener "London's Burning," a quirky danceable track from their self-titled album released earlier this year. The band's set was driven by strong anthemic tunes, and the pounding music paired with the pulsing colors and patterns of the rather impressive light show made me feel at times that I was in an arena. Yet the softer moments of complete darkness and subtle lighting turned it around and brought a sense of intimacy, as if I were the only person in the room. The band's eclectic synth-fused sound soothes the senses and one could easily get lost in lead singer Dougy Mandagi's powerfully soaring vocals, which were complemented by high-note harmonies from bandmate Joseph Greer (keys, backing guitar).
If I hadn't known beforehand, I wouldn't have guessed they were Aussies. There wasn't much chatter in between songs so I didn't notice any charming accents, however, Dougy's mic stand did have a boomerang attached to the front of it that held his tambourine, the only visual indicator of his hometown pride.
The more drinks that were poured and imbibed, the more people that scoured the pit seeking willing impromptu dance partners on the makeshift dance floor. There was an upbeat communal vibe going on among Temper Trap's fans; no tough-guys or inappropriate pit moments. Just a genuine appreciation of the music and performers.
As part of the set finale, the quintet delivered a beat-driven instrumental where Dougy brought out a single drum and pounded along with resident beat-keeper Toby Dundas, pouring his bottle of water on the drums. The combination of strobe lights and water flying all over the stage and the crowd howling along felt like we were a part of some sort of tribal rain dance; either that or a really indie performance from the Blue Man Group — minus the paint and creepy blue dudes.
For the encore, The Temper Trap closed with their biggest hit "Sweet Disposition" 2008's Conditions. Dougy jumped down into the crowd singing among the fans, some treating this opportunity as a photo-op with the frontman. After climbing back on stage, he invited everyone to come and meet the band after the show, a refreshing change from the headliners that make a run for it directly after they play. I'll admit I came to the show knowing only a few of The Temper Trap's more popular hits and although it's not the sort of music I generally listen to, I left satisfied and give this band respect for everything they have accomplished.
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.