The Drums At The Jubilee Music And Arts Festival, Saturday June 8th 2013
The Drums were headlining the Jubilee Music and Arts Festival on Saturday night, and even though there were still bands and DJs playing in the warehouses after them, they were the big final. After just a few songs, singer Jonathan Pierce said that the show was ‘a nice way to wake up after such a long hibernation’, as they hadn’t toured for a while, then he explained that the next song ‘Book of Stories’ was a sad old one, adding that, after all, it didn’t sound so sad!
I had heard about the Drums before but I had never really listened to them, and I used to think that the Brooklyn-based band was British, … don’t they sound a little bit English? I mean, not the accent but the music, it’s obvious that they have listened to the Smiths a lot, and I am probably establishing some obvious statement there, because I am new to the Drums, and I have just read that they absolutely love Morrissey who totally love them back, and they have even attended each other’s shows. Cool! Now I should ask what Morrissey-lover Helen thinks about this, because I am certainly no specialist, should he cover one of their songs or this would be too redundant? Anyway The Drums songs were about painful heartbreaks, unrequited love, or tortured feelings and were sung in the same romantic way than the Smiths’.
Beside this Morrissey complex, the Drums were engaging the crowd in a lot of handclapping, and the crowd was responding with some hilarious crowd surfing,… how could they do that when the music was this gentle bouncing post-punk-pop dominated by Pierce’s clear vocals? There was something quite contained and in almost simplistic in the way they were playing, no real loudness, no complicated layered arrangements, and you could distinctly hear every single word above the music.
A little tired to fight for the first row, I had found a spot in the back of the crowd, sitting over a barricade, and from where I was, the crowd, which looked like one of the largest of the festival, was really enjoying the show. Along with their frontman who was moving with the waves of the crowd or rather commanding the whole thing, the quintet was alternating between songs from their last album ‘Portamento’ and from their debut and self-titled one, and some lines were received with even more enthusiasm than others, like ‘Darlin’ you can be so unforgiving’ in sour-night-with-her-back-turned-to-me ‘Me and the Moon’, or like the carefree ‘And I need fun, fun, fun/In my life, life, life’. ‘Aaaawww, it makes us warm and loved’ exclaimed Pierce after this warmhearted reception.
I was looking at the young couple in front of me, and they gave themselves the cutest look when Pierce announced the next song, ‘Forever & Ever Amen’, asking people if they have ever been in love, the kind of love that makes you ‘feel a little crazy to be in love’… Are The Drums for lovers? I asked myself before he sang the line ‘We, we are in love….’ over the English new-wave-y fast tempo music. May be, but after all this heartbreaks, he is now venturing into some really naïve boyish territory. In any case Jonathan Pierce was so thankful for the positive vibe coming from the crowd, ‘LA cares about the new record!’ he said, why? Didn’t New York care enough?
‘This is the second song I wrote for the Drums, ‘I Felt Stupid’, said Pierce revisiting an ‘old’ song and at this point I am not sure if they were the Smiths covering The Cure or vice-versa. They ended up with ‘Let’s go surfing’, appropriately on time with people having even more fun at jumping at the top of each other, and they had time for just one song in the encore at everyone’s disappointment. But I suppose that, when you can make people do some crowd surfing while singing depressing lyrics such as ‘You were my best friend/ And then you died’ (‘Best Friend’), or ‘And I killed myself/And you broke my bones/And I sold my soul’ (Days), you have totally accomplished something!
What You Were
Me and the Moon
If he Likes it Let Him Do it
Book of Stories
Baby That’s Not The Point
I Need Fun in my Life
I Need a Doctor
Forever and Ever Amen
How it Ended
I Felt Stupid
Let’s Go Surfing
Down by the Water