Yesterday my sister, Eleanor, and I both came back from uni to spend a weekend at home and see twenty øne piløts play Alexandra Palace on November 11th, here’s a link to the setlist if you’re interested. We both managed to see them earlier on in the year playing the NME stage at Reading festival and they were hands down one of my favourite shows of the entire weekend. Coming up against some hot competition, including rock giants like Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Biffy Clyro, a band I had been waiting to see since my very early teens. So, as you can imagine, after that show our expectations were very high and I’m disappointed to report back that they did not fulfil said hopes.
Eleanor (left) and me on the right, gig ready and excited
There is a somewhat silver lining, in the fact that the band performed just as well as they had earlier on in the year, the difference and failings were a result of the crowd. A combination of overly self-aware tweens, accompanied by their unimpressed and quite visibly bored parents, led to a hostile crowd who gave minimal energy. Despite extensive twitter hype and indications that people had been camping for two days prior to the show, you’d hope the crowd would be energetic, but it this was not the case.
If leaving my house at 5am doesn’t get me barrier for TØP on Friday I don’t know what will
— Bena (@BenaLouise) November 9, 2016
Glimmers of an excitable crowd were teased when front man, Tyler Joseph, ordered the crowd to jump but this didn’t last for long and felt far too orchestrated to be actually enjoyable. The lack of movement in the crowd made watching the stage somewhat difficult, being stuck in one position with a sea of static phones (and even an iPad!?!) blocking view made it a frustrating experience. I know phones at gigs have been a hot topic in the music press, with Apple recently and controversially being granted permission for a patent that would block iPhones from taking pictures/videos during or around concerts. I totally understand wanting to capture moments from a night to relive the experience and I won’t deny sneaking a few snaps throughout a gig, however, there’s a limit.
I totally see the irony of posting phone shot stage pictures…
On the upside, twenty øne piløts do put on a great performance, which makes the sting of a poor crowd worse, but I digress from the positive. The duo had a captivating stage presence, when you could see it, filled with energy, back flips and various costume changes. Going above and beyond the average ‘rock show’ performance or expectations. The dynamic show was equally matched by the lighting, staging and visuals, with graphics and lasers, that would give Gordon from School of Rock a run for his money. It also featured cryo cannons, ticker tape and a bright red hamster ball running over the crowd, further reason I cannot fault the performers or the set up for the mediocre night, take a look at this NME article which goes into more detail. The volume of the music was also slightly off, as it’s such a large venue, they could have benefited from turning it up a few notches, no one wants to be able to hear themselves wail along.
Overall, as I’m sure you can guess from this review, we left dissatisfied but I will definitely be giving the duo another chance if they play nearby again. Hopefully in some form of festival setting, which will bring a slightly older crowd with more gig experience or at least fewer inhibitions and definitely no dragged along melancholic parents.
I’m off to see You Me at Six in a few weeks at Dingwalls, so hopefully I will be able to report back with a more cheerful post, so watch out for that.
Thanks for reading!