The Temper Trap at The Academy on 2nd October 2012

Review: David Dooley

Photography: Sean Smyth

Hype can be quite the force. The last time this reviewer seen Kodaline (tonight’s support act) play was a mere two months ago at Cork’s very muddy Indiependence festival. They played a solid set to an under capacity tent. That however was before the hype – oh the hype. The back-to-back spins from Zane Lowe, the winning over of BBC Radio 1 DJs and of course the glowing endorsement from none other than Gary Barlow.

Their set isn’t breaking any musical moulds, it’s straight up anthemic rock, but it’s impossibly tight. For a band with only an EP to their name, they definitely have their sights on much bigger things as they make the Academy feel like a very small place. We’re sure they’ll do the same come December when they headline the Button Factory. A lot of their set is spent waiting for breakaway single All I Want but tracks like Perfect World and the looming Lose Your Mind, the standard is consistent.

The Temper Trap make a welcome return to Dublin after playing support to Florence and the Machine and Snow Patrol at the Phoenix Park. On the road supporting the release of their highly anticipated second album, the set is a healthy mix of both new material and old classics. What’s very interesting about The Temper Trap live is how their set can so easily be split into three categories.

In the first category you have their edgier side with songs like London’s Burning – their sample heavy overview of last summer’s London riots – which they open with to great effect. These songs make the live show exciting, they give the band a bit of room to stretch their creative muscles without becoming self-indulgent. They’re also their most visually striking songs, especially when they’re paired with the bands massive, borderline blinding lighting set-up. Also in this category would be Drum Song, a rousing six minutes of controlled chaos that could collapse on itself at any second.

Category number two is their weakest point. It’s got the songs that nobody knows or is willing to dance to. These are the tracks that plod along with a mid-tempo chug that never gets out of first gear or has an end goal in sight, songs like Trembling Hands. Resurrection threatens to fall into this category but it’s a lot more exciting. The stakes are higher as the song builds and the final payoff is all the more rewarding.

Category three is The Temper Trap that everyone knows, even the people who couldn’t identify The Temper Trap by name but would be able to sing every word. This is where The Temper Trap are at their best. It’s where they have the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand whilst singing along to every word. The main track here is of course Sweet Disposition, a song that has soundtracked more adverts and movie scenes than most bands could do in an entire career. Coming to the end of the set you begin to wonder will they actually play it. After two or three minutes of loose jamming they give the sold out crowd exactly what they want. Any notion that singer Dougy Mandagi can’t sing live is instantly dismissed as he makes the falsetto heavy vocal line seem easy.

Overall a very enjoyable outing from start to finish. One of the interesting similarities between headliner and support is that they’re both defined by a single song. The Temper Trap have had Sweet Disposition with them since 2008 and there’s no doubt that it’s their calling card whether they like it or not. Kodaline’s situation isn’t too far removed as a lot of the press, the hype and of course the cover versions all go back to ‘All I Want’. By no means does their set rest on it but if they can’t follow it up the could be forever chasing the success of that first big single.

The Temper Trap Photo Gallery

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