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November 07, 2011  | by: Adrienne Wenner

The Drums

If you’re having second thoughts about whether you like The Drums, then go see them live.

The indie pop band has so much more to offer live than they do on their terribly produced albums.  The producer takes all of the fun out of the Drums and makes them sound like every other indie band out there.  But live, The Drums bring fun energy to the stage and take the audience back a few decades.  It kind of makes you feel like you’re in a classic John Hughes film, minus Molly Ringwald.

Even the setting is perfect for them.  The Bowery Ballroom may have updated their bar area, but the old wooden floor, vintage balconies, and ancient stage create an atmosphere perfect for The Drums.

Jonathan Pierce

Now I was expecting a bunch of fashionable, untalented hipster kids to walk on stage after having to endure the awful sounds of Regal Degal.  But The Drums were not only dressed well, they could actually put on a show!

Singer Jonathan Pierce is a mix of 80s superstars in a hipster’s body.  Pierce completely embodies David Byrne on stage.  His outrageous, over the top dance moves undoubtedly originate from some Talking Heads video and along the way Pierce must have been coached by Byrne to be an egotistical, “you’re nothing without me” fool.

Pierce has an incredible voice, a combination of Jim Kerr and Ian McCulloch.  He may have that down, but his lyrics don’t match up to his vocal abilities.  “We, we are in love.  We, forever.  We’re not gonna stop.  We’ll be forever.”

The Drums’ original guitarist Adam Kessler dropped out of the band two months ago, but he’s not missed at all.  Guitarists Connor Hanwick and Myles Matheny have the less is more guitar riffs down.  Without Kessler, the band has been rearranged to their benefit now.  Jacob Graham has synth duty, which he clearly has a much more natural talent for than the drums.  And newbie Australian Danny Allen gives the band flair.

The Drums first night at the Bowery had a solid setlist filled with variety.  From the new album, Portamento, “If He Likes It Let Him Do It” totally dominated the first half of the set.  There’s something emotional about this song that takes you along on a journey for four minutes.  The synth grabs your brain cells and makes you think about what’s going on, which lacks in other songs.  This one was well thought out.  It’s haunting.  Whereas when the Drums go into “I Felt Stupid” or “Money” you just want to flail yourself everywhere while shouting the repetitive chorus.

The most disappointing part of the night was not hearing “Let’s Go Surfing.” The Drums are true hipsters straying from anything that could be considered mainstream, which is sort of annoying.  I totally give them my respect for not wanting to conform, but seriously, it’s one of your best songs, just play it!

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