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FRONT ROW | TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB @ FESTIVAL HALL

If there’s a band who knows how to get you going it’s Two Door Cinema Club. It’s only been three days since they tore the roof off the Mix Up stage at Splendour and the resulting hangover has left a slightly feral energy circulating Festival Hall. From the basement bar, all the way up to the rafters, we are ready to go off.

The hall is thrown into darkness, the Irish band take the stage to throbbing strobe lights, and without further ado they shred their way through ‘Cigarettes In The Theatre’ and ‘Undercover Martyn’ to rapturous applause, but that’s when it all became a little strange. Even though the crowd was near capacity, and that wild feeling was still snaking it’s way through the crowd, most seemed to fall into a motionless state of unresponsiveness.

While I basked in the yellow tinted glow of ‘Next Year’, hands in the air because that song never fails to warm me right to my toes, I cracked my eyes open momentarily to discover that give or take a few others wrapped up in the soft, love tinged, vocals, the crowd were mostly minutely swaying, if at all. It felt flat and unappreciated. It felt wrong.

I think it’s very important to make note that this overall feeling of indifference that blanketed the venue had nothing to do with the band. Two Door Cinema Club were sublime, effortlessly twirling melodies and soliloquies of love, both captured and lost, through the smoke filled air. At times I found myself breathless at the energy they were projecting onto us, others I found myself gripping my arms so tight I left marks because the stories they were spinning hit so close to home.

They treated us to a setlist made more of 2010’s ‘Tourist History’ than anything else and it felt like a high school reunion. I was flooded with memories of my penultimate year at school spent marinating at swampy parties and baking in the Queensland sunshine. ‘I Can Talk’, ‘Eat That Up, It’s Good For You’ and a particularly heartfelt ‘Sun’, although not drawing the audience response and participation deserved, send tingles along my spine and my feet are beginning to ache from the ceaseless bouncing that goes hand in hand with Two Door’s music.

When they reenter for an encore, it’s as if the crowd has only just realised the gig has begun and the room becomes alive. Shrieks and cries of joy suddenly reach up to the rafters and it’s as if everyone is feeling what I’ve been feeling all night. That animalistic energy that had been simmering at the beginning of the night returns, only now it is released. Voices raise to the heavens for ‘Someday’ and when Two Door launch into ‘What You Know’, it is the only moment of the night that the crowd truly feels as it should. Big, enthralled and hopelessly enamoured with this band. The singalong echoes through the hall and people are finally on their feet. It’s the response the band deserved to have all night, and thank god they finally were gifted it, if only for one damn song.

Photography by James Johnston

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Jacqui Picone

I'm just trying to stop crying at gigs.