As if the hyper inflationary depression wasn’t enough for us to worry about, we’re having the largest volume of snow fall for the past twenty years, apparently. Fortunately, the treacherous weather conditions did not deter punters from attending ‘Dirty Boots’ at Bloomsbury Bowling. Amongst the crowd were Steve Lamacq and The Editors (who were bowling with their girlfriends). Headlining the night were Crystal Antlers with Three Trapped Tigers preceding.
Three Trapped Tigers are the greatest band of all time. Without a shadow of a doubt, even better than Radiohead and The Beatles. There’s a lot of hype around them at the moment (which usually means they’re going to disappear in under a year, take Teenagers in Tokyo, Corrine Baily Rae and Friday Hill for example) but don’t be drawn in by the media frenzy. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that TTT are still going to be releasing forward thinking music in five years time.
There were a few technical difficulties just before Three Trapped Tigers started. I think Tom wanted his Carillon synthesiser turned up but the sound guy was refusing to co-operate. Fortunately, the promoter stepped in and I overheard him offer to buy the band drinks as compensation. It wasn’t long before all of this tension was put aside as TTT launched headfirst into their electrifying set. They opened with ‘Untitled 3′. A chirpy little keyboard piece set against a schizophrenic, fidgety beat. To me, this song screams of Squarepusher (AKA Tom Jenkinson) influences, no wonder he’s one of their top myspace friends. At this point I should probably mention that so far, the band have only released a five track EP in which all of the tracks are called ‘Untitled 1′ to ‘Untitled 5′.
Anyway, as soon as they started playing, the audience were captivated. Adam’s drumming alone was enough to demand the attention of the crowd. He would quickly switch from playing a simple, straight forward rhythm to totally screwing around with elaborate, insanely fast paced drum rolls and breaks.
They continued their set, segueing into ‘Untitled 2′ before they accomplished the near impossible task of tearing the roof off Bloomsbury Bowling by blasting out their hot ball of rage ‘Untitled 1′. It starts with a high pitched, heavily distorted guitar line before the manic, drum and bass influenced drums kick in with heaps of effects. While all of this chaos ensues, the time signature keeps changing and remarkably the band always sound totally together. At about two or three points through the song, everything drops out and this beautiful, quiet piano part drifts over the crowd. A perfect combination of mellow and not mellow.
After that hardcore onslaught, they play their much more laid back ‘Untitled 4′ and end with ‘Untitled 5′, a track that features heavily echoed drums, fancy Baroque style piano arpeggios and more peaks and troughs than a roller coaster.
I know what you’re thinking. All of their songs are untitled, they keep changing the time signature. Aren’t they really wanky, jazzy and self indulgent? Well, no. Not really. Their songs are too well structured and precise. Apparently, Tom meticulously scores their parts on manuscript paper. It’s very cleverly written and quite challenging to listen to but it never gets boring, it’s easily danceable and they’re astonishingly tight when they play live. Three Trapped Tigers have successfully managed what Pivot and Battles have been trying to do.
Review by David Apple.