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Two Door Cinema Club, an Irish band formed in 2007, are currently mid-way through an ambitious world tour to promote their second album ‘Beacon’, which sees them travelling all over the globe through Europe, the US, Canada and Asia. I had the pleasure of seeing them as they passed through England for the second time at the O2 Academy in Newcastle, with support acts Swim Deep and Bastille. The venue wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, and was probably one of the smaller venues that they’ve found themselves in on this grand tour. I had visions of a huge cavernous building a bit like the Manchester Evening News Arena, the Academy is not exactly small and reminded me more of the Manchester Apollo – big enough to have some room to breathe when you’re wedged in the crowd, but cosy enough to be able to see the stage from a distance.
My friend and I didn’t get to the O2 until a little after the doors opened, and much to our surprise the queue to get in snaked around the entire building and resulted in us standing next to a couple of tour buses and the bins. For the first time in my history as a gig-goer, I opted to stay out of the pit and drink a pint by the bar (a definite sign of old age), but thanks to the aforementioned cosiness of the O2, I still had a decent view of the stage; although I imagine it would have been a lot better if I’d remembered to bring my glasses. As nice as it was to be away from the sweat and heat of the pit, I must admit that the atmosphere is a little different when you’re standing behind the tech guys and surrounded by middle-aged couples busy recapturing their youth.
The support acts were relatively unknown, to me at least. The first act, ‘Swim Deep’, didn’t leave much of an impression. Their music sounded similar to a lot of the other indie rock bands out there; the only thing worthy of note was they decided it would be a good idea to use a tambourine in their performance. Bastille, however, were definitely worth noting as an up-and-coming act for this year. They had some great original tracks, played a fantastic cover of the classic dance track ‘Rhythm of the Night’ which had the crowds jumping like I’d slipped and fallen into an Ibiza nightclub; and a quick Shazam during their performance showed me they’ve already released an album and have a fair amount of fans on iTunes.
Two Door came onto the stage a little after nine o’clock, and one of the things I noticed immediately about the concert was that they are a fan of bright strobe lights, and their live performances are certainly not for the epileptic. They opened with arguably the most popular track of their new album ‘Sleep Alone’, which had the entire crowd screaming with joy. I wasn’t too sure what to expect of their set-list, seeing as most bands when touring with a new album like to prioritise their new material over the older stuff. Two Door Cinema Club do not suffer from such pretensions and played some of my favourites, such as ‘I Can Talk’, ‘Something Good Can Work’ and ‘What You Know’ as one of their final songs. I think of all the performances, ‘Sun’ was my favourite. Much of the performance was bathed in blue or purple lights, but appropriately, the stage was lit up on oranges, reds and yellows with Alex Trimble and his ginger Tin-Tin quiff sitting at a little piano. There was no big finish to wrap up the performance, bar releasing some comically big balloons which the band kept battling back into the audience; at one point during the penultimate song Trimble raised one of them above his head like the new-born Simba in the Lion King.
Overall, as a huge fan of Two Door Cinema Club, I was thrilled to see them play live. I wouldn’t say it’s the best gig I’ve ever had the pleasure of going to, partially because I was half-blinded by the strobe lights but also because Alex Trimble isn’t much of a talker. Artists sometimes struggle to find the perfect balance between chatting to the audience and playing music, for example, I once missed almost half the set of a 30 Seconds to Mars concert because Jared Leto enjoys the sound of his voice far too much and the gig seriously overran. I doubt that Two Door Cinema Club said more than twenty words, they flew through their set and I trudging through the snow of Newcastle by eleven o’clock. If you’ve never seen them live before, I’d heartily recommend you go, but other than that, there’s really nothing particularly spectacular about their concert – it’s simple and straight to the point, which is refreshing when compared to the likes of Lady Gaga.