The Drums – Manchester Academy 6/12/2010

Why wont they listen?

There were elements of this show that made me want to yawn because you felt like you had seen it all before. New and “cool” band from a big city with haircuts that had made a few stylized dance routines in front of the mirror. However the fact that the crowd absolutely took hold of every tune made me sit this one out to the end – and I’m glad I did. There were a variety of moods created throughout the set. The band have clearly worked on their sound in the studio as all their guitar tones sound like a band who has a vision of what direction they want to proceed in.

Inventive minimalistic lighting effects made the show come to life and gave the dynamics a lift in the right places. Through the darkness I could just about make out where their on stage sound was coming from. There were tiny practice amps sat there like what you would expect them to be messing about with in the dressing room, not being mic’d up in a 2300 capacity venue! Lots of money making hooks have entwined themselves in to the songs which should keep these guys around at least for a second album. Catchy, whistled melodies will always appeal to the advertisers ears so why not throw a couple of those in. Some songs were similar to the extent that they had the same melody part but just played on a different instrument!

As for songs; I didn’t hear one that will remain relevant in 10years time but then again, there aren’t many out there that can achieve this status anyway. This is a stylized sound that fits with trends = money… yawn. I wouldn’t be out of turn to say The Drums are running through the veins of early Cure albums but I’m sure The Cure were not playing their first album to this many people. And this is where the industry is going wrong, it’s the same old story – too much too soon, and what becomes… another band that will take a sharp downwards turn in a couple of years unless the label will stop pressurizing for single sales. I would love for them to prove me wrong as I don’t think The Drums are all that bad they have just been taken on all the best rides first which, in my opinion damages the creative process. A slow build is usually what produces longevity.

Let me get inside the executives head for a second,

“Ok so we’re not making any money from selling music anymore so how else can we get a quick fix? Let’s build a band so fast that they can sell out large venues and then we’ll demand a cut for taking them there!”

Fair enough but the quick solution isn’t always the best option and the only thing that suffers in these circumstances is the music. If labels could accept this and be prepared to earn less than what they were doing through the late nineties then we could stick half a chance. Yes very well done this a great live band who know how to entertain but how many more of these bands will it take for people to realize the quality of the music is becoming less and less important.

This is where we will start to see a change. It has to become more about the strength of songs again eventually, especially if radio is going to survive the storm that the internet has created in the music business. People will never stop talking about the 60’s, and that is because the music from that era lives on inside every one of us to this day forward. Memorable melodic music. Songs that have been sweat out through a combination imagination and passion. Truly inspirational works are carried around for weeks sometimes months before becoming a song. This is how an author writes a novel – ideas are collected over time and developed, dismissed or left in the recycle bin until they become useful again.

With only an album’s worth of material I was glad to see The Drums didn’t try to stretch out the set, instead they kept it short and energetic. Down by the Water was a marvellous way to close the show and the sound production on the drum kit was phenomenal! These guys don’t have the same originality that Vampire Weekend have nor do they have anywhere near that strength of song writing but neither did The Cure when they started out and they ended up producing masterpieces. I am genuinely intrigued to see what’s next for these guys…

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