Three Trapped Tigers
COSMO GODFREE lets his wild side out at the Portland Arms.
Portland Arms, Tuesday 6th March, £5 adv
“What’s in a (band) name?” you may ask. In this case, quite a lot actually. Cast aside the annoying alliteration and focus on the imagery. It’s a pretty good clue to what you’re about to let yourself in for.
Three Trapped Tigers’ live show is wild, ferocious and propelled along with the most incredible levels of energy. It’s also completely unpredictable – songs change tempo and direction frequently, and with no warning. Contemplative, beard-stroking music this is emphatically not. Two of the band look suspiciously like members of Coldplay: this was quite a big red-herring, and it fooled me until they started to play.
The drummer, who deserves an extra-special mention, doesn’t look like Chris Martin. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if he spent his earlier years drumming in hardcore bands, as he displayed the most incredible reserves of stamina – playing for the entire night as if his life depended on it, his face turning increasingly darker shades of purple. He also has extreme versatility, which is crucial to the bonkers rhythms that drive these songs. I spent most of the gig with my jaw dropped, just marvelling at his octopus limbs.
I honestly don’t know how to easily categorise the music that Three Trapped Tigers play – it’s largely instrumental, with vocals used sparingly as another instrument. Superficially, I guess you could say they sound a bit like heavier post-rock bands such as Mogwai, and they do employ the old ?loud-quiet? dynamics trick to rather devastating effect. Really though, this is keyboard-heavy electronica with a mental drummer, and it works a lot better live than on record (meant as a compliment).
Three Trapped Tigers – Noise Trade
Tonight the band played most of the material from their first three EPs, recently repackaged as a complete collection, with song titles (ranging from 1-13) simply reflecting the order in which they were written. I guess the idea is that we’re meant to see them more as short compositions rather than songs, and with no meaningful lyrics or danceable beats, you might for forgiven for wondering what the point was. It’s in the sheer power of the band’s delivery and the obvious craft that goes into making this sort of music successful – how they made such ‘difficult’ music seem so rehearsed and yet so spontaneous at the same time is beyond me.
Three Trapped Tigers definitely get a big thumbs-up from me. As a listener, there’s a bunch of angles you might come at them from – whether you like unhinged rock music or complex electronica, there’s probably something for you here too. I’m still not sold on the name though.