Oct. 22, 2010
Fox Theater Pomona
It's hard to find a review or interview with the Temper Trap that doesn't mention the fact that “Sweet Disposition” was on the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack. This is dangerous ground for an up-and-coming band, and leaves listeners wondering if the scale will tip in favor of one hit wonder land or the realms of the next it band.
If their show at the Fox Theater in Pomona Friday is any indication of how the band's fate will will weigh out, fans can expect many more good things to come out of the Temper Trap for years to come. They have several strengths that go beyond their hit.
The first talent of the band to hit the ears is singer Dougy Mandagi's siren-like vocals. This guy sings like a goddamn angel. The Temper Trap draws comparisons to U2, and Mandagi has even acknowledged and embraced these comparisons. Instrumentally, I can hear it, but the fact is that Dougy can hit notes that Bono can only have wet dreams of hitting. He hit unnatural heights on the song “Soldier On” that the crowd cheered with amazement.
They opened with an electro instrumental song that had death march drums and no lyrics besides a soothing “eeeeee” lullaby. It was a mysterious and intriguing introduction to the concert with a generous amount of fog and a purple stage glow. The lack of lyrics helped showcase the band's instrumental talents.
They also ended their main set with an instrumental song, “Drum Song”–a risky move for a band outside of the jam band genre. However, this choice showed that the musicians can hold their own independent of Mandagi's vocals.
Their main allure as a band is how uplifting and inspiring their music and lyrics are. Lyrics like “wont't stop to surrender” and “love for the sound of the moment that keep us moving” make the Temper Trap a feel good band. You can't help but keep your woes at the door when their euphoric tunes are being created in the same room as you. It's no wonder that they are frequently used in commercials. They are a perfect soundtrack to success.
Toby Dundas is key in balancing out the band. His drumming is punchy enough to keep their sound grounded and not too whimsical. Before they began their encore, the band took a moment to promote an artistic campaign they launched to raise malaria awareness. The band recruited artists to create limited edition postcards. There's no price tag, so whatever you're willing to donate to the “Buzz Off” campaign. Funds go to malaria treatment, awareness, and prevention. Donors receive a download code for an unreleased B-side track.
Critic's Bias: I tend to think that any band KCRW's Jason Bentley endorses is automatically good.
The Crowd: A jeans and t-shirt kind of crowd; surprising for an indie buzz band show on a Friday night.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Take it off!” (in response to Dougy taking off his sweater)
Random notebook dump: I hope I don't start liking U2 after this.
When not running the OCWeekly.com and OC Weekly’s social media sites, Taylor “Hellcat” Hamby can be found partying like it’s 1899.