The 2nd September 2017 marks the day The Drums stepped on board the infamous party/gig boat Thekla in front of a sold-out crowd in Bristol. Perhaps a better name for The Drums would now be ‘The Drum’ as Jonny is the last original member of the band left, but the new guitarist and bassist somewhat resemble previous bandmates Connor and Jacob.
Even though Jonny is the only member left, having impressively played every instrument on the new album ‘Abysmal Thoughts’, he always seemed the most passionate of all the other band members. During the show, he explained that even though he is proud of every album they have made, he definitely connects to ‘Abysmal Thoughts’ the most as he “had time to sit and look and face myself”. Fittingly he then performed ‘Mirror’ where he seemed to sing “I look in the mirror… I ask myself who are you know”. Which the crowd went crazy for as they had just heard the emotional backstory.
They played in front of a simple black backdrop with the band’s new logo written along the top. When singing “those were the old times, those were the only times” in ‘How It Ended’ Jonny repeatedly pointed to the sign as though he was referring to the old band. They played songs from oldies and goldies like ‘Best Friend’’ to brand new tracks like ‘Heart Basel’ and ‘Blood Under my Belt’. The mic cut out in ‘Heart Basel’, he put this down to the fact we were on a boat, and said “it’s a song about love so I’m going to take advantage of that and start it all over again”.
A definite favourite, and an unexpected one to be played was ‘Let’s Go Surfing’… maybe Jonny feels like he can play this track now without people associating them as a surf band. Jonny came on stage in a very jazzy, open purple emoji-style floral shirt and during ‘I Need a Doctor’ he ripped this off revealing a long sleeve Adidas top. Old-school sportswear is a classic style for The Drums but this time he had personalised it with glittery sleeves, perhaps showing his new take on The Drums on his own. Loved it. During the encore, he changed into a low-cut boiler suit and socks. I’m pretty sure he said the reason for this was that it was easier to dance in. Which is completely understandable, the way he prances, glides and twirls around the stage in a magically theatrical way definitely requires a lot of comfort.
The encore was certainly a special moment. “Let’s get this show on the road” says Jonny before he has even emerged onto the stage. They played ‘Baby That’s Not The Point’, from the ‘Best Friend’ EP back in 2010, with a simple baseline and that’s about it emphasising Jonny’s romantic voice. To mix things up, this was played before more upbeat track from the latest album ‘Rich Kids’ and ‘What You Were’ from ‘Portamento’. There was a lot of moshpitting happening throughout the entire gig, but if you know Bristol gigs, you will know Big Jeff, but it wasn’t Big Jeff causing harmless havoc in the pits, it was a younger version of him with the same haircut. Crazy. The actual end to the gig was ‘Down By The Water’ followed by a stripped back, moody version of ‘If He Likes It Let Him Do It’. It was an emotional end to an emotional gig, which represents the entire ‘Abysmal Thoughts’ album, the most honest album we have heard from The Drums yet.