The Drums @ The Astor Theatre, Perth (12/05/11)
Formerly based in Florida, The Drums made their name on the music scene back in 2009, before making Brooklyn, New York their base. They released their debut self-titled long player in June 2010 and announced the launch of their sophomore LP this month. Upon first hearing and laying eyes on the foursome, an unquestionable influence from The Smiths in their sound and stage performance was instantly noticable. Front man*Jonathan Pierce* was a highlight and his über-cool dance moves got everyone bobbing, jiggling, flailing and generally making lovable fools of themselves on the dance floor.
Support was enlisted from Tasmanian electronic pop band Tiger Choir who offered a really good vibe during the prelude to The Drums. Their angular melodies and hypnotic beats made them stand out. The wait for The Drums to grace the stage was a tad prolonged however, the entertaining performance excused the long delay and heightened the sweet anticipation of it all.
It was uplifting to see that the Brooklyn boys were unpretentious and got on with the business of absolute unadulterated entertainment to the great appreciation of the audience. They played their version of new wave post-punk with passion and sincerity, obviously relishing every moment. Pierce’s bigger than life on-stage persona was slightly mismatched with the subdued attitude of his fellow band members. His flamboyant stage presence and carefree demeanour, while wearing tight black jeans, a tank top and washed out denim jacket (and still pulling it off) was a sight for sore eyes. Clearly he took some fashion tips from your run-of-the-mill Aussie bogan and in other ways emulated Morrissey’s nonchalant timelessness.
Every song had a distinct hook and a purposefully crafted theme. The Drums managed to engineer an epic indie performance, based on simple click track drumbeats, endearing lyrics and a shimmery surf pop format. Whether it was the Johnny Marr-esque guitarist, the keyboardist assuming the role of a wacky conductor to an invisible orchestra or the security guards’ arbitrary and useless attempts at fending off annoying stage intruders, the experience was all the more gratifying. The usual crowd pleasers Let’s Go Surfing, Forever and Ever Amen and Me and the Moon made their expected appearance and we were honoured with a new song from the second album that they finished in Australia.
Before they bowed out off stage The Drums promised an enthusiastic crowd that they would soon return, while reverberations of the wistful and swelling song The Future billowed through the art deco theatre. We were all happy campers as we made our way to the foyer with delicious smells of popcorn permeating the room, reminding us of far simpler times of youthful abandon.
The buzz around The Drums is well founded and they have demonstrated clearly that they are more than just another fabrication of the indie band banality.