First up were The History Of Apple Pie – cool by name, cool by nature. Cool fringes, cool look, and even cooler songs. Single ‘Mallory’ was a personal highlight; however the rest of the crowd seemed slightly distant and unengaged. I also spotted Connor from The Drums watching from near the bar. Singer Stephanie Min may have been somewhat inaudible at points, but the catchiness of the dreamy noise-pop these guys create made up for it.
Australia’s Cloud Control drummed up a bigger crowd, with more head-nodding and word-mouthing than expected, with ‘There’s Nothing In The Water’ being the most visibly known amongst the Portsmouth folk. Cloud Control were slow to start, but they connected with the crowd, albeit by asking the cliché support-band question ‘so are we all looking forward to The Drums?!’ The last song was played with passion – pieces of drumstick flew around the stage from the sheer enthusiasm of the drumming. There was a good reaction to Cloud Control but nothing near that of The Drums.
Jonathan Pierce is a true frontman. The dancing, the conversation, the charm, the looks, the voice. He really has it all, and he sure knows how to work an audience. Arriving on stage after the rest of the band started, Jonathan began the show in style, prompting a euphoric reaction from the crowd. The Drums started with ‘What You Were’, an excellent opener, immediately getting everyone moving. They flitted between songs from their self-titled debut and ‘Portamento’, and even included old favourite ‘Best Friend’. Girls went crazy for Jonathan as he leant in towards the crowd, holding hands and standing to bask in the volume of lyrics being shouted back at him. His trademark moves were reminiscent of Beat Happening’s Calvin Johnson and his dancing, relentless. Recent single ‘Money’ had a tremendous reception, as did ‘Forever and Ever Amen’. Pierce introduced the lesser-known live members of the band – Connor’s brother on guitar, and Drummer Danny ‘all the way from Australia!’ before stating ‘and, well… you know the rest of us’. It’s hard not to know The Drums, but it’s for all the right reasons.
The gig had its upbeat points – ‘Money’/ ‘Me and The Moon’ / ‘Best Friend’, however, during ‘Down By The Water’, there was a spectacularly uniting atmosphere. It was almost haunting, the loud drums contrasting Jonny’s tender vocals. Lighters were waved, lyrics were shouted, and even a couple of cheeky kissed were shared. The encore consisted of an unexpected rendition of ‘Baby, That’s Not the Point’, followed by an equally haunting and modest ‘Searching for Heaven’. Jacob fiddled about with keyboards in the background for a while, before leaving Jonny in the spotlight. He moved with a possessed nature before modestly ending the song by just placing the microphone on the floor and leaving the stage. It was such a stunning ending that no one applauded, everyone just stood, before looking at their friends in disbelief.
I don’t think anyone expected The Drums to be as good as they were. The record does not match up to their live performance at all. The Drums are definite showmen.
By Hannah Bettey