Things have moved pretty fast for The Temper Trap. Despite hailing from the other side of the globe in Melbourne (that’s Australia, not Florida…), 2009’s debut Conditions (QRO review) caught a lot of ears (moving to London probably didn’t hurt…) with an expansive and evocative sound. This year has seen their self-titled follow-up (QRO review), which was anything but a sophomore slump, as they embraced the kind of sound John Hughes put on his soundtracks in the eighties. Now the band is playing their biggest U.S. venues to-date, and started on Friday, October 12th at New York’s Roseland Ballroom.
That The Temper Trap were headlining the massive Roseland (QRO venue review) did come as a bit of a shock, since only earlier this year they were playing (QRO photos) venues like Music Hall of Williamsburg (QRO venue review). And Roseland wasn’t exactly sold out – the line at the front of the venue was for the next-door performance of The Jersey Boys. That understandably had a far older crowd, but the audience at Roseland was slanted towards the ladies (many with boyfriends in tow) – that’s what happens when two of your best songs have “Love” in the title…
The Temper Trap started out well – almost too well, as the rest of the show had trouble matching the high of the opening with The Temper Trap‘s “London’s Burning” and “Need Your Love”. The former brought the dark edge, and the latter the bright expanse – though admittedly the subsequent “Love Lost” from Conditions had the crowd sing-a-long. But could the following “The Sea Is Calling” or “Rabbit Hole” match two of the best from The Temper Trap? Could anything? And anyways, then came another awesome Conditions crowd sing-a-long, the pressing and impressive “Fader”.
The first half of the set list (QRO photo) was dominated by Temper, but the back half was Conditions-heavy, for a rough balance between the two albums over all. Having only two did mean that the band really didn’t miss any ‘must plays’ (though could have used Conditions‘ “Rest”), which also included Temper‘s “Miracle” and Conditions‘ “Science of Fear” before the encore break, and “I’m Gonna Wait” and “Great Disposition” to close out the night.
The Temper Trap are in an enviable place, with this much success and acclaim this early in their career. Some acts struggle in vain for years, even decades, and never reach Roseland or the equivalent (especially in the hyper-competitive NYC music scene). But things just keep looking up for The Temper Trap.