100 Shows of 2010 - #66: The Drums @ 9:30 Club, 9/12/10

We all know how much Sunday nights can totally suck. The weekend is inevitably coming to a close, the work week is about to begin...so Sunday evenings are oft spent on the couch, mourning the loss of two days of freedom while watching The Glades (hey, it works for me). But this particular Sunday, I decided it was time for some serious rock and roll. As luck would have it, The Drums was playing the 9:30 Club, and seemed well up to and equipped for the task of rocking me, baby. When I got home from their set it was a lot closer to Monday morning, but I was a whole lot less concerned. I went to sleep feeling totally and utterly rocked and rolled.

MINI RECAP: The Drums = Sasstacularly Spunky! Overall Score: B+++

I felt an instant affinity for these hyped-up New Yorkers, even before they played a note. Their look, and really, it is a pretty serious look, reeled me in. Think 1980s Smithsian, but whereas Morrissey and Marr wore their shades of gray on their sleeves, literally, The Drums opt for a bold and bright take on their retro love, which matches the overall vibe of their music. I was immediately aware of the serious stage presence of their frontman, the prancing and preening Jonathan Pierce, who sashayed splendidly around the stage for the duration of their set. Puritanical purists, avert thine eyes, but Pierce seems to me like some kinda Freddie Mercury/Ian Curtis hybrid, blending the peacock strut of Mercury with the empassioned twitching of Curtis. While the music of The Drums doesn't quite align with either band (especially the full-throttle bombastic operatics of Queen), the resemblance was, to me, uncanny. Throw in an ocassional vocal reference to Ian McCulloch, and you're getting warmer. And I found it all rather delightful, and impressive, when Pierce managed to wriggle out of his red satin bomber jacket without putting down the mic or even batting an eyelash.

Any band that cites Orange Juice as an influence wins favor from me, and the sound of the great Scots certainly permeates here (I'd also throw in a nod or two to that other band of amazing Scots, Josef K). The melodies and the arch poppiness of the rocking was drenched in Scottish (and English, too) shades, though Pierce's voice took things way over the top. In a good way, of course. The songs were hypnotic, and pretty much irresistible. Between Pierce's vocal antics and the lipstick gloss of the guitar to that machine gun drummery, it was a glorious little set. I'm not sure where this band has been all my life, but I'm glad they're here now.

I'd have to say my only real complaint about the set was that, well, it ended, and that at times the vocals seemed a wee bit muddy. But other than that, it just doesn't get much more entertaining, my little lovelies. Lucky for you, the band is still in the midst of a major US tour, and will be popping over to Europe in a few weeks to spread their love amongst the peoples of the EU. I seriously, forcefully, and earnestly encourage you to spend a night with The Drums. You won't be disappointed.

mp3: We Used To Wait (Arcade Fire Cover) (The Drums from BBC3 Session)


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