Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Live review - The Middle East/ Temper Trap, Somerset House, 12.07.2010

It was the night that the Aussies came to Somerset House and both the crowd and the bands, The Temper Trap and support band The Middle East, seemed to get a kick out of being at one of London’s prettiest venues.

Part of a run of outdoor gigs called the Summer Series, this years bill included Air, The Mystery Jets, Florence + The Machine, The XX , and The Divine Comedy. The outdoor setting, in the courtyard of Somerset House, did add a bit of extra magic to the proceedings as well as some nice acoustics, which were particularly good to the impressive vocal talents of both The Temper Trap and The Middle East.

The Middle East had the harder task as they are still relatively unknown in the UK but it didn’t take them long to win over the crowd of Temper Trap fans with their wistful, acoustic, indie folk sound.

A band of six talented musicians, they are not afraid of adding layer after layer of instrumentation including banjos, flutes, and accordions to the mix leading to really beautiful melodies and truly dreamy songs.

By the time The Middle East got to ‘The Darkest Side’, one of the best from their eight track 2008 album, ‘The Recordings of The Middle East’, the crowd had stopped their conversations altogether to listen to the guys and girl on stage fingerpick and sing — in perfect harmony, of course, — their way through another song.

The band also played a couple of promising-sounding new songs but their most famous song, ‘Blood’ (above) was kept until last supplying another fantastic showcase of their poetic lyrics, mesmerising melodies, and proof that The Middle East are definitely worth looking out for.

Then The Temper Trap took to the stage to a rapturous response from the crowd, which continued throughout their hour-long set.

Starting with ‘Rest’, the group of four stormed through some of their hits from debut album ‘Conditions’, the audience of fans with them all the way, singing along and clapping in all the right places.

New song, ‘Right Here’, went down a storm — slower-paced but still with that great force of energy that is largely down to lead singer Dougy Mandagi’s amazing voice, it left fans whispering to each other that they “can’t wait for the new record”.

‘Fader’ soon got everyone shouting along again, providing a reminder that Temper Trap have already managed to create some great pop songs in their short existence.

Lead singer, Mandagi, has clearly picked up a few crowd-pleasing tricks too — tipping water over the drum he was smashing the heck out of during an epic version of ‘Drum Song’, it sprayed up, hitting the lights and wowing the already spellbound crowd.

Of course, ‘Sweet Disposition’ was the finale, and the crowd really kicked into life when that guitar riff started up, even the rain that immediately started spitting down couldn’t dampen that level of audience enthusiasm.

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