With his perfectly coifed ginger-red hair and all-white garb, Alex Trimble, lead singer of Northern Ireland band Two Door Cinema Club, resembled a large lit candle as he took the stage at the Bowery Ballroom on May 12.
Then he began to heat up the room.
The band opened with “Cigarettes in the Theater,” the first track off its debut album “Tourist History.” The fast guitar scales and rattling bass warmed up the crowd, which proceeded to ignite as Trimble sang the opening lines to “Undercover Martyn.” Heavy drumming and dance beats kept the audience bouncing all night.
Not bad for the group’s first U.S. headlining tour. Maybe all that time on the road with France’s indie pop masters Phoenix served TDCC well.
Before the last song, Trimble said the night “was the highlight of their lives.” It showed.
The band closed with a high-octane “I Can Talk,” whose electronically fractured vocals were soon brought to clarity as low-neck guitar was layered with heavy bass and drums. The Wednesday night crowd hit the sidewalk happily soaked with sweat.
The band, which is on a world tour through November, returns to New York Oct. 21 at Webster Hall. Get your tickets now -- they will be gone come October, if not sooner.
Long hair, beards, mutton chops and tattoos were common in the older segment of the crowd at Webster Hall May 25. These were fans of Roky Erickson, founder of the 1960s psychedelic rock group the 13th Floor Elevators.
He was in town to support “True Love Cast Out All Evil,” his first album of new material in 14 years. Backing him was Austin folk-rock group Okkervil River.
Erickson came out to roaring cheers, his shoulder-length hair crowned with a Waterloo Records cap. He got under way with a blazing rendition of the classic “Night of the Vampire.” The four guitarists worked off one another until Lauren Gurgiolo ripped away at the end with a wailing solo -- something she continued to do all night.
Okkervill River’s frontman, Will Sheff, who produced this album, took on the role as band leader for the night as a timid Erickson stuck mostly to the music. Between the introduction of songs and the occasional banter, Sheff lent vocal support and rhythm guitar while smiling nonstop.
Erickson’s music ranged widely, from the garage-surf number “Don’t Slander Me” to the twangy rock ditty “I Walked With a Zombie” to a beautiful new slow number called “Bring and Bring Me Home.”
Closing With Classics
The show closed with two of the evening’s most powerful songs -- both 13th Floor Elevators classics. On “Reverberation” the audience chanted along with Erickson as the number eventually reached a slowed-down end. The band returned for an encore of “You’re Gonna Miss Me” -- a song Erickson wrote when he was 15. It came packed with a harmonica solo and a monster guitar jam. The house lights flashed and the crowd felt lucky to still have Erickson -- who struggled for years with substance abuse and psychological problems -- making it on stage.
For the month ahead I am awaiting the return of the New Jersey rockers and Springsteen acolytes known as Gaslight Anthem. The band will be playing Irving Plaza on June 15, the release day for its new album, “American Slang.” The following night, New York band The National makes its Radio City Music Hall headlining debut. With the release of a new album, “High Violet,” the band is taking its baritone vocals and lush sound to new levels. Arrive early, as The Antlers open and were responsible for one of my favorite albums of 2009, “Hospice.”
Here’s a selection of New York-area shows in May. Please note that opening bands aren’t always listed. Shows marked (SO) are sold out, although online services such as Craigslist often have tickets:
June 1 Brahms at Pianos June 2 Tobacco at Glasslands June 3 Nathaniel Rateliff/JBM at Union Hall June 4 Kings of Convenience, Warsaw June 5 Yeasayer (free) at Governors Island June 6 The Brian Jonestown Massacre at Webster Hall June 7 Erykah Badu/Janelle Monae/Questlove at Roseland Ballroom June 8 The Futureheads at Bowery Ballroom June 9 Junip/Mountain Man at Knitting Factory June 10 School of Seven Bells at Mercury Lounge June 11 Sunglasses/Psychobuildings/Magic Man at Pianos June 12 Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at Webster Hall June 13 DM Stith/Inlets at Littlefield June 14 Delphic at Music Hall of Williamsburg June 15 The Gaslight Anthem at Irving Plaza (SO) June 16 The National/The Antlers at Radio City Music Hall (SO) June 17 Pantha Du Prince at Santos Party House June 18 Born Ruffians at Bell House June 19 The New Pornographers/The Dodos/The Dutches & The Duke at Terminal 5 June 20 Band of Horses/Grizzly Bear/Karen Elson at Williamsburg Waterfront June 21 The Roots at Highline Ballroom June 22 Steel Train at Mercury Lounge June 23 Goldfrapp at Hammerstein Ballroom June 24 Tame Impala at Pianos June 25 Silversun Pickups/Against Me!/Henry Clay People at Williamsburg Waterfront June 26 Memory Tapes/Twin Sister/Dom/Zaza at Music Hall of Williamsburg June 27 Islands at Music Hall of Williamsburg June 28 WhoMadeWho at Mercury Lounge June 29 Passion Pit/Tokyo Police Club at Prospect Park Bandshell (SO) June 30 Delta Spirit at Bowery Ballroom (SO)
(Jaime Widder writes about contemporary music for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are his own.)