On November 1, 2013, I had the pleasure of attending an indie pop concert by the band Two Door Cinema Club. The concert occurred on a late Friday evening at the Fox Theater in Pomona. When I arrived at the theater, I did not expect there to be as many people as there were. I imagined that because the band was associated as indie, the venue would not have been entirely sold out. The line to get in was very long as it wrapped around the block and it took close to an hour to gain entry. Right I as I stepped into the theater, I took note of how fast people were rushing to get a good view to see the performance.
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The seating was structured as all standing and there was a second floor balcony. My ticket was ground floor only there was a pit closer to the stage and a raised area behind the pit. I literally stood right next to the lights director which was located in the raised area that was directly centered across from the band. Unfortunately, I was not able to be with the entire group of friends that also went to the concert. There were four of us by the lights director and the other twelve were in the pit. The age of the general audience was from 15 to 25 although there were was more females than males in attendance.
When the band graced the stage, I also took note of the band’s attire. They dressed contemporary, looking like real rock stars. The lead singer and guitarist, Alex Trimble, wore a leather jacket over a jean jacket while the bassist, Kevin Baird, wore a Hawaiian-esque shirt. Sam Halliday, guitarist, wore a casual shirt and unofficial band member Ben Thompson, drummer, dressed more casually with his black tee. Two Door Cinema Club, in my opinion, have very interesting performance practices. All their songs have a limited amount of parts to them.
For instance, there is a riff for each part of the song (verse, chorus, and bridge) and
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there are no variations to said parts. Usually the introduction of their songs contains the melody and is thus played in the chorus. Furthermore, their use of only three different parts in their songs, to me, classifies them as pop. Pop songs do indeed have little changes to them as they stay within a small, unchanged structure. Interestingly, the band is considered pop and the guitar riffs that they play range from intermediate to advanced difficulty.
What also catches the attention of listeners is their very memorable lyrics as the chorus, and also title of the song, is sung often and repeatedly. Examples include: “I Can Talk” (analyzed later), “Sleep Alone,” “This Is the Life,” and “Changing of the Seasons. ” Lastly, the instrumentation for the band includes: two guitars (rhythm/lead), bass, drums, keyboard, and synthesizer. The song “Next Year” (2012) was performed later on in their performance. I was quite taken away with how it is played. “Next Year” began with a synthesizer playing with the drums entering at 0:07.
For the aforementioned section, the synthesizer only occurs during the introduction and the start of the bridge. The lyrics enter at 0:23 and then at 0:37 the guitar, drums, and bass enter. The tempo for the chorus is allegretto and the chorus is played in andante. Trimble is singing but is also playing the keyboard during the first chorus. After the first chorus is finished, the lead guitar trill picks a transitional piece into the second verse. By the second chorus though he switches over to playing rhythm guitar. Also, the tempo changes from andante to allegretto for the second chorus.
Allegretto then becomes the sole tempo for the rest of the song excluding the bridge. The bridge consists of the repeating of the synthesizer piece and the emulation of the keyboard chords that the singer was playing earlier. The song is structured as follows: intro, verse 1, chorus, verse 2, chorus, bridge, chorus, and coda (which is just the chorus being sung again). The remainder of the song still contains the guitar(s) playing the same riff only the bass is playing different notes giving the song a different feel as before.
The band’s song “I Can Talk” (2010) was performed somewhere in the middle of the concert. This particular song used more vocal nuances than any other song performed. It starts out with an automated voice saying, “Ah-Oh-Ah-Ah-Oh” in the introduction. Another voice is added repeating, “Hey, hey” twice followed by the band playing allegro and the vocal nuances being sung underneath. The melody is introduced when the band enters; this section is also played in the choruses. The lead guitarist is once again trill picking in the melody while the rhythm guitar is playing chords.
During the verses, Trimble is singing with the drums and synthesizer as accompaniment for the first ten seconds. The guitars then play chords in stop time with delay. The chorus is played again and followed by the bridge/interlude. The bridge is an instrumental section that sounds like more of a jam session. Polyphony is evident because both guitars are playing two different riffs at the same time with the base playing its own line. There is then a sudden pause after the bridge to add drama to the piece. The whole crowd cheers crazily and then the band finishes off the song with one final chorus.
The song titled “What You Know” (2010) is the band’s most popular song and the final one that they played. This one was played a lot more different from its original recording introductory wise. Trimble began singing the chorus a cappella in an attempt to get the crowd to sing along. This clearly worked as everyone in the theater began singing too. Trimble then started adding chords to his singing and playing on different beats in order to set up for the actual performance of the song. After this little play to the crowd, the band actually starts the song.
It begins with the singer/guitarist playing the chord progression of Am, F, and C (though not in that order). These are the only chords that are played throughout the whole song. The drum is playing the toms at the introduction and then adds kickpedal and snare to the mixture at 0:07. Once again, the melody/chorus is the introduction of the song. The lead guitar riff is based on the Aeolian Scale. The note that is played on the 17th fret of the guitar is outside the scale and adds dissonance. The bass line is syncopated during the introduction and chorus.
During the bridge and verses, however, the bass is now playing in relation to the singer’s voice (verses) and the guitar (bridge). The singer is simply strumming the aforementioned chords and having them sustain during the verses. Meanwhile, the lead guitar is playing within the same scale just on different frets. The bridge is different since the lead guitarist is playing a quick lick and then playing a power chord (the name of it escapes me). The rhythm guitar is alternating between the C and Am chords at this point with the bass following their leads.
The song is then finished on one last chorus, just as the other. All in all, the concert was amazing. I spent that night with the people I care about the most and made memories that I will cherish forever. It was very interesting to see and hear what exactly the band was doing as they were playing. Granted, I knew more about what the stringed instruments were doing more so than the drums as a guitarist myself. The atmosphere was exciting, energized, and it is just great to know that I was able to attend.
I was able to enjoy myself thoroughly while at the same time listening intently to the band for my analysis. I would also like to add that Trimble sings with his natural and chest voice. He also sang four songs that contained falsetto. Furthermore, the drummer was playing on the backbeat for every song. It was very apparent that doing so prompted the audience to get moving. The drums really got everyone to start nodding heads and jumping. Lastly, it was an amazing night filled with fun and adventure; I could not have asked for a better homework project.See More on Guitar, Music