Unsubstantiated Rumor: The Drums @ the ND (9/25)
The Drums album, released earlier this year, had been on my radar for quite some time. It used jangling surf-guitars, smooth rhythms, and a pretty killer vocal to win me over pretty quickly. I was excited, to say the least, to see the band on their return venture to Austin, but something was amiss last night. This might just be hearsay, and one man’s opinion, but I almost left early due to the fact that I can’t guarantee, nor do I want to, that the band actually performed live.
First off, why were the lights, fully in function for opening act, Young Friends, turned down so low. Sure, you can claim that its part of the band’s theatrics, but there’s no reason why a band with a solid performer would have the lights so low. At times you couldn’t even see the members playing their instruments, so things began to come into question.
Then, if you were actively watching as the various members took the stage, you could notice that the drummer was installing some in-ear device, most commonly used for bands that have so many pre-programmed tracks, that the drummer must use a click-track in order to keep pace with everything. That brings up two points: 1) How much of the show was programmed? 2) Why was the drummer so seemingly bored? Well, if you’re leaning the way I’m leaning, you might start to begin something was up.
Finally, what about that performance? Singer Jonathan Pierce did his best to come off like a common Morrissey, but let’s face it, no one can ever top the Moz, and his theatrical dancing seemed a bit too contrived. You add that with how polished and clean his voice sounded, and you have to wonder how much if it was being run through that pre-programmed track we discussed earlier. Seriously, there were times when he sang and the mic was nowhere near his mouth. Then you have the guitarists, one who played bass with a guitar, possibly through an effects pedal. But, the other guitarist moved so much during his part that there’s not a single way this chap could pull of the precision guitar playing without a little help from elsewhere. Really, it was theatrical, and it sounded great, but no one sounds that good live, nor should they.
It all brings into question why one of the guitarists recently left the band, though we allow for personal issues. Several people I discussed the show with, despite loving the band, thought it all seemed a bit too-perfect. So, the question that remains is how much of the show was recorded prior to the set? Did they even play live at all? Like I said, I can’t prove this, but my suspicions, as well as those by others, calls this band into question. As for now, I’m saying they didn’t pull it off live, they merely put on a show; a show carefully programmed and recorded prior to taking the stage.