Last night the Music Box offered a refuge from the words like “exit polls,” “deficit,” and “job creation.” Within its dark painted walls people could grab a drink, talk with their friends, flirt with their dates, and be absorbed by the charm of two pop bands without a single mud-slinging electoral ad, which after the past couple months was a huge relief.
Generationals opened the show with a set of well-crafted, sugary pop that burned brightly from the speakers. This four piece from New Orleans looked so crisp and neat when they took the stage, one could have easily have mistaken them for a church group. Judging by their button-front shirts and a floral dress, this is the kind of band you can introduce to your mom.
Like most unknown opening bands, these guys had to work for their applause. At the beginning of their set the crowd seemed determined to ignore them, choosing instead to hover around the bar, but by the third song the dance floor was full. With juicy hooks, three-part harmonies, hand claps, and catchy choruses with bizarre lyrics Generationals managed to lure the Angelenos onto the dance floor.
The set primarily consisted of songs from their debut album Con Law which was released last year with a few tunes from their latest EP thrown in. Was it as well polished as the record? No–comparatively the songs were pretty raw: the harmony swells, whistles, and handclaps were not as dominant and the horn section was nonexistent, but a rough version of Generationals is still pretty good. They've got time to polish their live set and work out the kinks.
After Generationals' set the floor was flooded with dancers for the Northern Irish band Two Door Cinema Club. The sold out crowd took no prisoners, shoving and shimmying into position. If you weren't careful it was very easy to find yourself hip checked into the sound booth.
Having first debuted in LA in May at the Bardot, the climb for this electro-pop band has been astronomical. In a span of less than a year, the band had gone from complete unknowns to selling out the Music Box, all on the laurels of one debut album Tourist History. This unrestrained love was not lost on the band. After emerging from a cloud of smoke and strobe lights, lead singer Alex Trimble stared at the crowd in wonder before declaring his love for Los Angeles, “We're so happy to be back!”
As well he should, that kind of adoration cannot be bought in this town for love nor money. With electronic blurps setting the tone for each song, Two Door Cinema put together a very polished set of syrupy pop that one could imagine teeny bopper alien kids dancing around to in their flying saucers.
The rhythm section seemed to take the set far too seriously. With a fury that made him levitate from his drum kit, Benjamin Thompson was a blur of blond hair and sticks, while bassist Kevin Baird thrashed around his corner of the stage, a man possessed by the beat. It was fascinating watching the two jerk in unison to the beat like puppets on a sting. Alex Trimble and lead guitarist Sam Halliday were far more restrained, but they had no need for theatrics because their musical contributions were far flashier.
The set was everything you would want from a dance pop band, except for one vital thing. They've got no range. Each song will get your toes tapping, but it will remind you very strongly of the one that came before it…and the one before that. It's a very good start, but one can only hope that they've got cards in their hand that they haven't shown yet because at the moment, they're all the same suit.