Two Door Cinema Club (photo: Jessica Perez)
On Thursday, December 1, 2016, indie rock group Two Door Cinema Club brought their dance-beat heavy riff-rock to Oakland’s Fox Theater all the way from Ireland for the first of two sold out shows.
The Fox Theatre was packed for the return of the band, their first stop in the Bay Area since their 2013 tour. On Thursday night, they got right down to business opening the show with “Cigarettes in the Theatre,” the first of eight tracks from their 2010 debut album, Tourist History.
Opening with a massive drum beat and pounding strobe lighting from the spotlight cannons and seven towering LED screens, it was clear from the start that this was going to be fun. The next three songs were some of their most familiar from their debut: “Undercover Martyn,” in which lead vocalist Alex Trimble let the crowd carry an entire verse — and they nailed it, by the way — followed by “Do You Want It All?” and “This Is The Life.”
For nearly every song, the lighting rigs would take on certain tones and almost color-coordinated vibes of their own, enhancing the subtle differences within the melodies and chord progressions and for “This Is The Life” the LED screens lit up like frost-covered window panes, adding to the dreamy visualization of the lyrics before they shattered in a flurry of jagged snowflakes.
“Changing Of The Seasons” off the 2013 EP of the same name acted as the pivot point into the groups new material off of Gameshow, released October 14 of this year. They eased into the new material with “Bad Decisions,” the falsetto-riddled second single off the record.
In “Lavender,” lead guitarist Sam Halliday erased any doubt that he couldn’t shred his instrument with as much soul as anyone. He had solid tone and never missed a beat through several fills leading up to the song, but throughout “Lavender” his melodic outbursts left jaws on the floor.
“Next Year” was a short but sweet revisit to the group’s sophomore album from 2012, Beacon, but they didn’t hang out there for long and quickly moved into the new album’s title track, “Gameshow.”
The heavy rock and roll ending amplified the crowd’s reaction to the next song, “Something Good Can Work.” Incremental increases in enthusiasm from one song to the next became more and more pronounced as the crowd succumbed to the fast-paced energies of the band.
It took a few songs for the crowd’s energy to reflect the band onstage, but any perceived lack of enthusiasm would be a dangerous misstep as the band took complete advantage over the large spread of The Fox’s stage; they had much more room to move about freely.
By the time they slowed things down a bit for the first single off the new album, “Are We Ready? (Wreck),” the crowd was able to finally and fully sync up. The blue lights turned purple and a long, overexposed video sequence of a car driving downtown locked the entire room in a groove.
They continued bouncing around their three LPs, sandwiching the crowd-favorite tunes of Tourist History’s “I Can Talk” and “Eat That Up, It’s Good For You” between two tracks from Beacon, “Sleep Alone” and the set-closer of “Sun” ending at 10:35pm.
Less than two minutes after they left the stage, Two Door Cinema Club returned for a two-song encore that saw them falling back on the tried-and-true sound that propelled them into the world spotlight with “Sun” also from Beacon, and ending the show with “What You Know” from their debut.
Opening the show was the four-piece indie-rock attack of Broods. There was a clear connection between their sound and Two Door Cinema Club’s, with the vocalist’s sharp yet delicate delivery mirroring that of Halliday’s lead guitar, but there was a missed opportunity in the mix that kept her voice from standing out rather than hiding under the music.