Live: Velvet Goldmine. The Joy Formidable & The Temper Trap

Stepping through the red velvet curtains of Ripamonti’s La Casa 139 rolls back the years to the days of glam rock parlours, as staircases spiral vertiginously, doors slide and table footballs crash unerringly on the rotting floorboards below. Tonight however, Ziggy and Bolan have little to no musical impact on the faux-falsetto of Australian now-indie powerhouses The Temper Trap and visceral darlings of Wales’ finest wailers, The Joy Formidable. Slinking on La Casa’s miniscule stage before a factious crowd composed primarily of unnervingly aggressive Australian teens, The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade roars out of the blocks as the abrasion of a newly-strung, expertly Tipp-Exed Strat clatters against howling, harmonic distortion and bass-drum leathering Lars Ulrich would endorse. Quite how debut EP/LP/ 8-track off-kilter alt. rock behemoth A Balloon Called Moaning sailed under the radar of many a muso begs belief and seemingly the Milan memo floated away in a postal strike. Yet heads are most certainly turned as the soothing coos of Austere cascade and collide with guitar stabs born of a battered, bruised and ultimately brutal Fender combo, and a tempestuous whirlwind hurls through the merch stand come closing time. Squeezing The Last Drop of every globule of emotion could power any number of Richard Curtis romcoms whilst Ostrich is as sinister as Luis Buñuel armed with a razor blade. As the ecclesiastical opening samples to Whirring chime, bleach-blonde Ritzy Bryan’s Kevin Shields-rivalling pedal board is whisked into overdrive in a hallucinatory haze as a frenetic few minutes of feedback extend emphatically the finale of a frantically formidable half hour. By contrast, The Temper Trap bluster onstage, beginning brazenly with a signature instrumental intro which drags like a convict behind a horse in a Spaghetti Western beating. By the time the initial falsetto faux-pas of Rest beat against adoring eardrums, the tension reaches breaking point like a boiled thermometer, as insults and insolence overpower Dougie Mandagi’s primordial howls and the reverb-soaked pristine sheen guitar frontline. The aboriginal drum stick clicks of Drum Song provide a fairly solitary highlight, alongside the manic mainstream coursing of Fader yet Fools lethargically bores the sweat-drenched cesspit that the venue’s latterly become, whilst the brooding six-string onslaught of Resurrection collapses into chaos. Nelly Furtado once lamented all good things coming to an end and unfortunately for The Temper Trap, so too must hype. If with death comes life anew, The Joy Formidable’s day may well have finally dawned.