Glastonbury 2010 I made one of those decisions that we all must face when you’re at a festival. Namely: “Right, no one wants to see this band with me so I’m going it alone”. As I stood dutifully in the John Peel tent, obligatory cider in hand, (I was joined at the last minute by the boy who had seen sense). That band, a mere smattering of us had struck out to see, were The Drums.
A larger, mixed bag of an audience packed out the rafters at Shepherds Bush Empire. Seemingly, this year’s Portamento has cemented them as one’s to watch (as opposed to ones to watch alone in my case a year and a half ago) and the two albums now make a punchy, fuller set.
The reason I fell for The Drums when they first arrived on UK shores (Frontman Jonny Pierce claimed London “got us first”) is not entirely based on the strength of their music.
I always pictured Jonny Pierce as a teenager, practising the fluidity of Morrissey whipping his microphone lead on stage like a nonchalant bull fighter alongside the jerky jolts of Ian Curtis performing like electric shock therapy coursed through his veins.
Who hasn’t emulated their hero’s in front of the bedroom mirror?
The difference being, unlike me still dancing along to Kate Bush, über talented Jonny Pierce is playing to sold out audiences. He exudes a knowing confidence as noticeable as a Ready Brek glow, that people want to see him parade and gesticulate as much as hear him sing, his grand entrance on stage minutes after the band were poised confirmed this.
The Audience practically screamed the lyrics to Forever And Ever Amen, Best Friend and If He Likes It, Let Him Do It (dedicated to all the Gay people) as Jonny Pierce flailed, gyrated and shook his way through the set.
The moment we were all called to attention, to acknowledge this is a frontman in the making, was during Searching For Heaven. A sole spotlight as this track (Depeche Mode meets Marc Almond) rang out quietened the crowd to a respectable hush.
The track they’re possibly most well-known for, Let’s Go Surfing, was not included on the set list much to fans dismay. But here I must leap to their defence.
If Van Gogh displayed all his art work but people only crowded around Sunflowers he’d feel utterly disillusioned that people were only here for that one painting. I get why this track wasn’t played (but then I’m a Smiths fan who endured a ton of Morrissey’s solo concerts while he steadfastly refused to play any Smiths tracks for years).
The strength of both The Drums albums is enough to produce a strong enough back catalogue to take this risk. Quite an accolade for a band still very much in their infancy.
I don’t think the night lacked anything in this track not being played (although one fan pretending to talk to George Michael on his phone saying “Alright George? Are you gonna play Last Christmas or what?” did make me chuckle).
Fans reaction to this year’s Money would rival the response to ‘Let’s Go Surfing’, and if their song writing continues at this pace they’ll need never play what’s expected of them, but whatever takes their fancy.