The ‘difficult second album’ is a phenomenon all too familiar to both bands and fans, and it carries more weight than ever in this NME-driven flavour of the month-type musical landscape. More fickle music fans are usually quick to label Two Door Cinema Club as victims to this curse after second full-length Beacon didn’t quite hit the heights of phenomenal debut Tourist History. But while the trio may have dropped off the radar of the mainstream, they’re of course still going strong with a sell-out tour in support of new album Gameshow.
Opening up tonight is Anteros (8), who pique the interests of the crowd right from the start. Their songs seem to fit into either one of two categories – dreamy pop or sultry indie – both of which are total winners. Breakfast and Anteros (from the former) are joyous future advert soundtracks which tug on the mouth corners of the Guild’s population instantly, and the biggest display of potential in terms of actual songs. However, it’s with material like The Beat (from the latter) with which they show their abilities in a live setting. The performance of the band as a whole is tight, but it’s impossible to take your eyes off singer Laura Hayden. She’s the epitome of energy, prowling around the stage with blonde curls and record-perfect vocals to boot. It’s just a fun, carefree twenty minutes, and it should be sure to get tongues wagging.
Compared to the promise and sheer excitement radiating from Anteros’ set, Sundara Karma (6) definitely put a dampener on the atmosphere. Their live presence is polished, professional even, and with their long hair and smart jackets they more than look the part of the rising indie stars connoted by the screams meeting them. They’re more than competent onstage, with opener A Young Understanding positively soaring over the bopping heads and hands of the audience. But while they undeniably sound good, there isn’t really anything else to offer. There doesn’t seem to be much enjoyment or passion from any of the band (none of them even really crack a smile), and it’s a real shame considering the fervent reception they’re getting. Fingers crossed they’ll find a way to express their love for their craft in time for their headline tour this week.
Of course, though, the pace goes from zero to sixty the instant Two Door Cinema Club’s (8) trademark staccato guitars ring out to the Guild. The crowd erupts in pure euphoria to openers Cigarettes In The Theatre and hit Undercover Martyn, and it’s clearly cathartic to many here to hear tracks from Tourist History in a live setting. The fact that material from their debut is Two Door’s strongest is perhaps the most obvious elephant in the room in history seeing as it makes up a large portion of the set and earns the best reaction by far. Singing the “ah, oh, ah ah oh” refrain to I Can Talk is still a total buzz, and hearing the gorgeous intro to Something Good Can Work is more than enough to cause butterflies close to seven years down the line.
The Tourist History inclusions undoubtedly make up the more high-octane portion of the night, that’s not to say there aren’t highlights elsewhere. Main set closer Sun is tranquil bliss in a song – arms are looped around shoulders everywhere in the room as everyone grins and sways accordingly. Single Ordinary from new record Gameshow vanquishes much of the set too, its funky vocal melodies and synth-driven beats a far cry from summery earlier material. Although onstage behaviour from the trio themselves may be a little safe, their cherry-picking of their best songs across their discography is what makes them a great live band in comparison to a recorded entity. If they can harness their live expertise into a full-length album, then who knows? Two Door Cinema Club could hit the mainstream heights that Tourist History more than hinted at.
Words by Georgia Jackson