When New York outfit The Drums chose the intimate confines of a London pub to debut material from their new album Portamento, singer Jonathan Pierce made the comment on how nice it was to play the new songs “amongst friends”.
The band’s new line-up (with former drummer Connor Hanwick on guitar and Jacob Graham now on keyboards, accompanied by a touring drummer and bassist/guitarist) worked well for the new songs, where synths have come to the fore for the first time. And it also invigorated selected numbers from their debut album, like Me and The Moon and Forever and Ever Amen, which in previous live shows had synth-support from backing tracks.
The latest single Money(below) got the Lexington crowd dancing, as did the much-loved early single Best Friend. But it’s clear that The Drums intend to move on from their breakout hit Let’s Go Surfing (which they didn’t play) with Pierce joking, “we’re not just about athleticism, these are songs about matters of the heart”.
On the evidence of this gig, The Drums’ writing has become increasingly personal while their live sound has developed more than ever.
Whether the more sombre mood of the new material will appeal to the same wider audience The Drums reached with their debut LP is yet to be proven: Pierce joked about playing small London venues, “this is where it began for us, and where it might end…”.
Even if fairweather fans move on to newer bands, it was clear from this gig that new songs like Days, Book of Revelation and How It Ended have the ability to capture an audience’s attention with the mixture of sorrowful lyrics and upbeat Indiepop™ The Drums have made their own.
Words and Photography by Amanda Penlington