Gig Reviews

The Temper Trap @ Live At The Chapel, St Stephen’s Church – 23/11/2010

Pre-drinks in a graveyard, a televised rock concert in a Christian church and the priests’ alter left in a post-traumatic mess. For most people this sounds like irreverent, immoral and utterly unacceptable behaviour. But for the carefully selected audience at Live At The Chapel’s Temper Trap gig last night, it was a downright genius idea.

As the lights in the chapel dimmed and the holy stained glass windows flickered from the movement of the spotlights, the home-grown act opened their show with an ambitious, drum-fuelled intro. It wasn’t long before everyone was out of their pews and praising their rock saviours who filled the room with a wall of atmospheric, drum thumping sound and gospel-like harmonies.

The Temper Trap delivered a string of songs from their debut album Conditions, starting with the hooting, howling Rest and well-received Fader. Their onstage chemistry and strong musicianship is immediately visible. Down River and Love Lost followed, with their marching band drum lines, tambourine traces and buoyant blend of vocals being accentuated by the flawless sound quality one can only expect to come from within a sacred chapel’s walls.

Every band has its defining milestone hit; the song that plunges them into the spotlight. For The Temper Trap, this song is unquestionably Sweet Disposition. Anyone who has tuned into mainstream radio stations in the last year will be well aware of this infectious number. Needless to say the crowd went berserk when it was played live and, might I add, executed faultlessly (not too surprising considering they’ve had plenty of practice with it).

With the vocal pitch of a terradactyl and the inherent groove of a Latin salsa dancer, Dougy Mandagi certainly makes for an intriguing front man. He worked the crowd like a master puppeteer, particularly during the instrumental item Drum Song, where he incited a mass clap-along and showered the stage with a thrilling water explosion out of his large drum barrel. The Drum Song is one of my personal favourites; perfect in its lyrical omission, you can almost hear a voice singing through the animated, unfolding music itself.

Generally an encore is a standard feature of a live performance, but this was TV land, where such customs are abandoned. So instead The Temper Trap thanked their faithful fans and culminated their sanctified performance with Science Of Fear. Amen!

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