My children love Twenty One Pilots or TØP as they are sometimes abbreviated to. So on Sunday November 13th I took them and two of their friends to the gig.
Getting tickets was a struggle - they sold out almost instantly. I was lucky to be lurking around the Ally Pally website when they released more.
Amazing that a band that receives almost no media coverage can be this big. I notice that two of their tracks "Ride" and "Stressed Out" were in Spotify's most streamed tracks of the year.
What are they like? Well, it's kid's music innit. Music for the youth. Eminem meets Fall Out Boy. Or (for the over 30s) The Beastie Boys meet Minor Threat. Visually they owe a lot to The White Stripes (a lot of black and red) - but they are more "trailer park" than "art school" and there is a hydroponic paranoia to a lot of the visuals which is present in the lyrics too.
The audience are utterly devoted to their messianic rock and sing every lyric; which makes for a great atmosphere. I kept thinking it must be a little like a Black Sabbath gig would have been in the seventies.
I think their latent religiosity of intent is something which is generally absent in today's cynical, defiantly superficial mediascape and so perhaps they have tapped into something there not available elsewhere?
TØP use a lot of what are almost abandoned theatrical gestures from Hard Rock. Tyler walks out over the crowd suspended in the air like Iggy. Amusingly they also put the drumkit on a platform and had the crowd carry that too whilst Josh was drumming. I found this avowed sincerity altogether quite heartening.
Extremely gymnastic too, they did these impressive jumps and spins. Quite a performance. Here Tyler climbed on top of a pole just above us. Threatening to jump. Teenagers just love that suicide thing don't they? I had to stop myself calling out "Be careful up there young man!" If only to embarrass the children.
I also got a few impossible to suppress (beneath the cool veneer) giggles for my Dad-joke routine of them doing warm exercises before the show - you know like opera singers - "La La La La La La Laaaa."
Altogether a great show.