The Drums just their new album, Encyclopedia, to the world amidst some internal reshuffling, with various members leaving the lineup. Some hesitation existed about whether this shake-up will hurt the quality of the Drums, both on record and in live performances.
The Drums recently came to The Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Smoke filled the club-like room as the posh audience waited in anticipation. When Jonny Pierce, the Drums’ frontman, confidently swayed onto the stage, arms swinging as some synthy beat played in the backdrop, it immediately connected that all was just fine with the Drums.
Pierce had such command of the stage and utilized his pure voice with excellent execution. He may have one of the best voices in indie rock, and he displayed it on songs like “Days”, which starts in a holy falsetto, drops to a musk, and builds back up. Pierce had wonderful presence on the stage and his every movement felt natural and in the moment.
Multi-instrumentalist Jacob Graham, the other original member of the Drums, adds quality too. He mostly worked with some mysterious piece of technology that stood as tall as him and probably weighed twice as much. He would studiously adjust buttons, sometimes with his back to the audience, and it was never totally clear which sounds were the ones he was creating. He looked like a librarian back there, but something about Jacob doing mysterious things lends the Drums charm.
The two opening acts also contributed to the night’s success. Literature, a Philadelphia based band, opened the show with fast, likable tunes. The lead man had nice energy and command. Beverly, a Brooklyn band who played second, also kept up the pace. At first only two ladies donned the stage and both had style and punch to them. I definitely felt it would be great before they even began — people with that much style have to know what they’re doing. Two men then came out — one drummer and one guitar player — and the band delivered a set of consistent rock songs.
The Bowery Ballroom perfectly captured the energy of each band. Almost club-like, the audience stood amidst smoke while the sounds slammed through the room. The Drums especially captivated, convincingly settling questions about whether or not internal drama would eclipse their musical brilliance.
Listen: “I Can’t Pretend” – The Drums
Learn more about The Drums online at thedrums.com