Live Review: The Drums at Soda Bar, October 13, 2014

The Drums
Photo by Dalton Reed

Brooklyn’s The Drums played an exuberant set of indie pop/surf rock (with a dancey electronic backbone) to an adoring and sold-out crowd at the Soda Bar last Monday night.

With lead singer Jonny Pierce illuminated solely by a deep red stage light, The Drums started their set with the foreboding track “Bell Laboratories” from their new album Encyclopedia. As the song progressed, it was obvious that, although the rest of the band played an integral part in the lush sounds coming from the stage, one of the main appeals of seeing The Drums live is witnessing the way Pierce unabashedly loses himself in the music.

When The Drums started their second song, the rest of the lights came on to reveal the full band and a menagerie of equipment packed tightly onto the small Soda Bar stage. The shift in sound was as significant as the shift in lighting. For the rest of the show, they played a steady set of music that was part indie-pop, part electro-pop, and 100% easy to dance to. And that’s exactly what the Soda Bar spent the night doing.

Many of those in attendance looked like Morrissey fans, and with the androgynous affectation the lead singer of The Drums so naturally exuded, it made sense. But unlike Morrissey, Pierce’s vocals and stage presence never came anywhere near the level of vapidity for which the Moz is so well known (and strangely adored).

But towards the end of the set, an eager fan requested one of The Drums’ more popular songs “Let’s Go Surfing” (which was apparently in a Starbucks commercial). Pierce let his sassy side out to play when he responded with, “You can’t have your dessert before you finish your dinner. So shut the fuck up.” This curt yet refreshingly honest response was met with a lot of hooting and hollering from the amped-up crowd.

Once The Drums ended their set, the audience started to chant in unison for an encore in that awesome way only rabid fans can muster. It was loud. And it only went on for a minute or two before the band came back to deliver on their promise of playing “Let’s Go Surfing.” Pierce was right — it was the perfect dessert.

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