NME/Radio 1 Stage
New York's latest guitar darlings, The Drums, entertained a late afternoon crowd on the NME/Radio 1 Stage. Yes, yet another guitar band from the Big Apple but delve past the indie clichés and the band delivered an impressive live performance. Addled by a real, fleeting sense of anticipation, the four piece applied a full knowledge of stage dramatics. Even their entrance was choreographed when drummer, Connor Hanwick, solemnly sat behind his kit followed by the rest of the band which left lead singer Jonathan Pierce to steal the belated plaudits for opener 'It Will All End In Tears'. Clearly, they have a penchant for irony too.
Their use of stage equipment was also exemplary. From Pierce playfully swinging his microphone to bassist, Jacob Graham, tapping his tambourine as if a Frisbee during an exuberant 'Best Friend'; they know how to keep a crowd amused visually as well as aurally. Undoubtedly, Pierce was the star of the show and would regularly evoke Morrissey with his flagrant mannerisms during the likes of 'Submarine' and 'I Felt Stupid'. Yet 'Book Of Stories' sounded disappointingly muddied proving that the band still have some work to do on the live circuit. Thankfully Pierce does not just excel at showmanship but commanded his smouldering voice to smother 'Make You Mine' and a forlorn 'Don't Be A Jerk, Jonny'. When they needed to prove ambitious, 'Forever And Ever, Amen' was as epic as a four minute guitar song could aspire to be with spiralling riffs and frivolous vocals.
For a late afternoon set, encores are as rare at a festival as a clean Portaloo but to heralded acclaim, the band returned for a tempered but heroic rendition of 'Down By The Water'.