Saturday Night: Two Door Cinema Club at House of Blues

Two Door Cinema Club, Friends House of Blues October 13, 2012

With the Austin City Limits Music Festival going on a scant 162 miles to the west, it would have been understandable if, as sometimes happens, the young indie-rock crowd were somewhat diminished on Saturday night.

That, however, was not the case. When Rocks Off arrived just in time for opening act Friends, we were a little surprised to see the show sold out. But okay, the House of Blues is a popular venue and tickets weren't very expensive, so maybe the place had filled up with HOB regulars who had maybe heard one Two Door Cinema Club song on a soundtrack or in a commercial or something. Right?

Right off the bat things were weird -- Friends sounded off-key, which we'll have to attribute to some kind of sound-system problem because whatever happened, it was corrected by the second song. A bouncy, enthusiastic sextet if we're meant to include "bongo player" and "guy who just dances" as full-fledged band members, Friends pulled most of the crowd in with their disarming friendliness and playful, utterly non-threatening sexuality. The "guy who just dances" had his shirt tied up, and the female singer loved to squeak and squeal to punctuate the lyrics, and that was about as ribald as it got.

They got the house lights turned up to record the crowd on what looked like an old-school VHS recorder, not unlike the kind I've got collecting dust in my closet, which I received for my 18th birthday in 1997. They invited the audience to clap and sing along, and even if their particular brand of theatricality struck an aging concert-goer as sort of silly, it was hard not to find them charming. Just a band full of nice kids whose sound lies somewhere between MGMT and early Oingo Boingo.

In any case, they certainly exceled at their "warming up the crowd" duties, because the crowd was buzzing with rare excitement during the brief wait for the headliner. We can't remember the last time we saw an entire crowd singing along with the house music, but we suppose an energetic opening act and the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right (To Party)" will do that to people.

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John Seaborn Gray