Tonight is Two Door Cinema Club’s biggest headline show to date and having just been announced as Latitude headliners, crowds this big are something they are going to have to get used to. Although the O2 was smaller than I remembered, with tickets still available I wasn’t too sure they would be able to pull it off or if the venue would swallow them up.
First on the bill is Swim Deep who I saw play the republic stage at Reading earlier this year. They got a pretty good reception then, but playing to a venue this size is a completely different ball game and it shows.
With the venue less than half full, and most people more concerned about the price of the drinks, it was always going to be an uphill battle. They seemed unsure of what to do with themselves in such a large space and churned out the set list keeping chat to a minimum. Whilst many of their songs are ones you have subconsciously heard on the radio, they tend to all blend into one and whilst technically good, the songs never quite build enough to grab your attention.
For the last song of the set, singer Austin Williams puts down the mic and attempts some kind if Jarvis Cocker shimmy across stage but ends up looking a little lost and uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong – I think they have the potential but tonight they are a little out of their depth.
As Crystal Castles walk on stage it is very clear they are not intimidated by the size of the venue. Their singer is wearing what looks like a cross between a glittery dress and a sari, with coconuts hanging from string and some kind of silver headdress covering his face. They have clearly found a riff they like hand have decided to stick it into every one of their songs which grows a little old. But they get the crowd going with their own brand of summery indie tunes, soundtrack of the summer “you and I” getting a particularly enthusiastic reception.
As their set goes on they seem to start a party onstage dancing around almost oblivious to the crowd, they are definitely a band I would check out at a festival but I’m not sure if I would pay to see them headline a show.
By the time two door appear on stage, the venue is buzzing and if there are any tickets left you certainly can’t tell. As they kick things off with “sleep alone”, the start of their set is punctuated with enough flashing lights to illuminate a city. It’s distracting and frankly just a bit too much, but luckily a few songs in the lighting guy has calmed down and it’s safe to look at the stage again. Two door Cinema Club are the kind of band that you find yourself jumping and singing along to even though you didn’t think you knew the words. When the intro of “This is the life” starts, the crowd erupts. Even if you have never heard of them, you would have to have been living under a rock to not know this one.
Next up is the title track of their latest EP “changing of the seasons”, with the classic catchy guitar riffs and pounding beats it hints good things are to come from the third album they are about to take time out before the summer to write.
The highlight of the night is definitely “I can talk”, but there isn’t a song played that doesn’t get the crowd going. They keep the energy up, rolling out hit after hit, playing a set of 16 songs before returning for a 3 song encore. Musically they hold their own, but it’s the gap between songs that shows that they are not quite used to commanding an audience of this size. Despite this they have without a doubt earned their spot on the stage – showing you don’t need to have the media hype that surrounds some bands, to make it in the big leagues.