Two Door Cinema Club, Capital Cities, St. Lucia concert review: Los Angeles


On Saturday night, Two Door Cinema Club capped off the Greek Theatre’s 2013 concert season with a bang.

Fascinating songs and top-notch lighting effects left local fans in a euphoric state during the Northern Irish alt-rock trio’s biggest U.S. headlining gig to date.

Ever since the arrival of 2010’s solid debut Tourist History, a launch that owed a stylistic debt to U.K. bands Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand, the Two Door musicians have quickly built a stateside following and scored two minor modern-rock radio hits.

Back home, the album won the esteemed Choice Music Prize, moved more than 300,000 copies and scored several singles. Last year’s more nuanced follow-up, Beacon, topped the British charts; next month the group plays London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena.

At the sold-out show in Los Angeles, a dazzling array of guitar tones from Sam Halliday was the key focal point in a 75-minute set covering most of both releases. Opening with best-known tune “Sleep Alone,” the young men immediately prompted squeals from female fans packed into the general-admission pit area.

Lead singer and guitarist Alex Trimble (pictured, above) wailed at the end of that song as the first of several smoke plumes shot skyward.

Concertgoers sang along loudly to the jittery “Undercover Martyn,” and a dreamy, careening take on “This Is the Life” was an early highlight that spotlighted the group’s harmonies well. The electrifying, danceable title track from the new Changing of the Seasons EP found Trimble gesturing dramatically as he sang.

Two Door also proved its mettle during the bright, jaunty “Sun,” the high-intensity angular guitar work of “I Can Talk,” the enthusiastic delivery and Trimble’s angelic vocals on “Next Year,” and a propulsive, synth-driven main-set closer, “Eat That Up, It’s Good for You.”

Capital Cities’ 45-minute, nine-song opening set defined infectious. Earlier this year, the L.A.-based electro-pop duo, who appeared here in matching satin jackets, topped the alternative chart with the platinum-selling “Safe and Sound,” watched the song become a multi-format smash and its clip go on to win best visual effects at the MTV Video Music Awards in September.

Their debut disc, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, is hands down the party album of 2013.

Bolstered by an expanded lineup at the Greek, Capital Cities appeared to the tune of Aaron Neville & Linda Ronstadt’s “Don’t Know Much,” then co-vocalist Sebu Simonian commanded: “All rise.” No problem there; everyone danced up a storm.

Starting with percolating current single “Kangaroo Court,” the guys locked into subtle disco-fied grooves and never let up, turning in the hyper “Origami” and a Chic-styled “Center Stage,” plus a perfectly fitting, laid-back take on the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” with a line from Weezer’s “Undone (The Sweater Song)” tacked on.

Judicious use of trumpet helps them stand apart from the pack, and animated player Spencer Ludwig’s many Herb Alpert-esque solos (notably on “Chartreuse”) helped increase the energy level live. Simonian often ventured from his keyboards to mix it up with fans, urging everyone to do the Capital Cities shuffle dance. Finally, a remixed version of “Safe and Sound” closed the set on a high note.

St. Lucia, the nom de musique for Brooklyn-via-South Africa artist and remixer Jean-Philip Grobler, offered a festive half-hour of entrancing synth-pop and alt-dance tunes from his winsome new full-length effort, When the Night.

Despite a shaky sound mix, Grobler (sporting a zebra print shirt) and keyboard-playing wife Patricia Beranek’s soaring harmonies glided smoothly throughout their performance.

The electronic outfit fared best amid the tropical “Wait for Love,” “We Got it Wrong” (featuring call-and-response action from the audience), a shimmering “Elevate” and their racing, Kraftwerk-like title track.

Set list: Two Door Cinema Club at the Greek Theatre
Main set: Sleep Alone / Undercover Martyn / Do You Want It All? / This Is the Life / Changing of the Seasons / Wake Up / Come Back Home / Spring / Sun / Pyramid / I Can Talk / The World Is Watching / Next Year / Something Good Can Work / Handshake / Eat That Up, It's Good for You
Encore: Someday / Cigarettes in the Theatre / What You Know