SXSW Music: The Temper Trap at Lustre Pearl

Hearing that The Temper Trap were playing a show at SXSW, I knew I just had to be there. Not being a resident of Austin, I had no idea what the Lustre Pearl was, but I loved the name. Walking up to the joint, I was certain I either had the wrong address, or some kid was renting out his parent’s house for an awesome show, either way, I was going in.

Or was I? After some issues with the door men telling me I didn’t have the right kind of sparkly bracelet, I managed to convince him that I was cool enough to get in and I walked around to the “backyard.” In the backyard was a huge tent covering the beautifully lit stage. It was a balmy night and everyone seemed pretty calm, which I really liked. I had walked in about half way through the set of The Boxer Rebellion, an alternative rock band from the UK. To give a review on their set would be unfair, considering I only saw about half, but what I did see, I really liked. Little fact: their lead singer, Nathan Nicholson looks exactly like Sylar(Zachary Quinto) from Heroes, don’t tell him that though. After speaking with him, he apparently gets that all the time. Their music was perfect for that kind of night in March in Austin. Guitarist Todd Howe, along with Nathan on guitar played very ethereal riffs on their instruments that melted our feet to the dry ground.

Not all of the songs were slow however. There were times I couldn’t take my eyes off of the quartet for their great beats that were stemming from the palpitating rhythm from drummer, Piers Hewitt. They are a very radio-friendly band that I expect to start hearing a lot more of, at least I hope to. I would highly suggest them if you are into: The Killers, The Temper Trap, Radiohead (Pablo Honey and The Bends era) or even female lead bands like Silversun Pickups and Goldfrapp.  They have released two albums Exits and Union, available now.

Who I had really walked six blocks to see was The Temper Trap, hailing from Melbourne, Australia. I could immediately see that they were not used to this cool weather by the heavy sweater that lead singer Dougy Mandagi was wearing. I will be honest, I actually started listening to The Temper Trap because of their song, ‘Sweet Disposition’ on the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack. It’s so rare that a song can make you feel like your traveling through space and time because of their delicate melodies that grow more and more on you each time you hear them. They played most of the songs from their debut album Conditions.

I couldn’t believe I was seeing The Temper Trap live. Coming from Australia, it’s just one of those bands I would always have the misfortune of missing. What I really love about The Temper Trap is, yes, they have a catchy hit on a soundtrack, but the rest of the album works as well. It’s easy to get wrapped up in any song on Conditions, and not just keep skipping to ‘The Sweet Disposition’, which I still love. Every time I turn them on, I can’t help but dance to their songs, or at least wriggle around in my seat. Their album has become one that must be listened to in it’s entirety, because no song is dramatically better than another.

What makes this band so infectious are two things: the quartet are so tight and talented with multiple instruments and Dougy’s falsetto voice capabilities. Miraculously though, songs like ‘Fader’ have the rest of the band singing back up falsetto just as well. The group is heavy with guitars from Dougy, as well as Lorenzo Sillitto on lead guitar and Jonathon Aherne on bass. Without the peaceful harmony of Toby Dundas on drums however, this band might not be such a standout. Then there are beautiful songs like ‘Love Lost’ that are carried by Lorenzo on the keyboards, along with the incendiary vocals of Dougy.

When it comes down to it, I had a great time with this band, and the crowd seemed to be feeling like I was. It was the kind of concert where you could look at your neighbor to the left and share a nod of understanding of just what we were witnessing together. I actually met a few nice people at this show, although it was hard to peel my eyes away from the interactions on stage. They finished their set with ‘Drum Song’ when Dougy splashed water off of the floor tom as he pounded away to the song with the rest of the foursome for a great finale.

I fell in love with The Temper Trap from their album, but seeing them live has solidified my confidence in their talent. The Temper Trap are going to be playing in the Crossroads in Kansas City on June 8th, 2010. I would really suggest giving them a listen if you enjoy the sounds of Pixies, The Airborne Toxic Event, Arctic Monkeys or Arcade Fire. The Temper Trap’s debut album, Conditions is available now.

I give the show at Lustre Pearl 5 “lucky look-a-likes” out of 5.

by Angela Davis

Here is a live video, NOT recorded by Lost In Reviews of The Temper Trap’s Science of Fear.

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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