Regardless of only two of the original members of The Drums being left in the band, the New York indie rockers performed with class and style to the sold out Koko crowd.
In run up to the only UK performance, Jonny Pierce (lead singer) kept his fans with a constant updates of his whereabouts around London on his personal Snapchat account. One Snapchat story included a photo of him with a relaxed pose backstage. It’s safe to say the fans queuing outside the historic Koko London venue were the complete opposite. Fans manage to fill every corner of the venue, from the stage floor up to the 4th balcony and waited in anticipation to catch a glimpse of the modern art that is Jonny Pierce and his infamous dancing.
After watching the support, the venue suddenly came alive, with the distant smell of expensive beer filling the room. Members of the crowd discussed the songs they were most looking forward to, one saying “I last saw them in Milan right at the front but this time I’m going to be sitting back and swaying to the music. I can’t wait to hear Down by the Water, it’s the one song that when I hear it I can’t stop thinking about how much I love The Drums”. Another member of the audience takes a look down from the 2nd tier balcony and claims “it’s horribly packed”. This won’t be a change for The Drums, having the majority of the previous UK Fall tour sold out within days.
9.10pm. The lights dim and an eerie tuning of a guitar begins. Being easily mistaken for Ultravox’s Vienna, the sound builds up a spooky atmosphere making the crowd even more excited. A spotlight hits Jonny Pierce as he walks on stage donning a gold studded black jacket in combination with his trademark bleach blonde hair. Pierce embraces his inner Mick Jagger as he swaggers on stage as the crowd screams. One word. Mesmerising. Pierce announces “London, we are The Drums from New York City” as though they even needed an introduction. As I Can’t Pretend kicks in the crowd sway to the soft vocals. Pierce sings “remember when you first held my hand” into one of the photographers cameras, regardless of the attention he is getting from the audience he makes that one photographer feel that it is just him and the music in that large sweaty room.
Further into the set Pierce shouts “London, you make us feel so special” as the band lead onto I Need a Doctor. Pierce caresses the mic and dances around it during the chorus before ending the song with a roaring crowd. “Thank You London” no thank you. For one moment you could have mistaken Pierce as an Ian Curtis impersonator dressed in glitter as the band begin to play one of their biggest hits Best Friend and Pierce simply loses his mind and begins his infamous dancing. You simply cannot hear The Drums sound as its overpowered by the deafening audience. Kicking into Money, Pierce mockingly pats his pockets as he croons “I haven’t got any money”.
By the end of the set, the crowd are cheering and shouting “Jonny Jonny!” his reaction…a humble smile to the people backstage. The Drums have done New York City proud. Coming back on stage for part of the encore (Forever and Ever Amen, Let’s Go Surfing and Down by the Water) Pierce takes off his glittery jacket, leaving only his trademark hair colour as the only source of light on the dark, gloomy stage. During Let’s Go Surfing, one of The Drums earliest and most famous tracks, the crowd spreads out to form one of the happiest mosh pits ever scene. Every member of the crowd, from the floor to the 4th tier are simply in their element. Ending with Down by the Water, Pierce leaves the crowd to do the singing as he teases them with the microphone. “You sound so beautiful” he shouts as one member of the audience shouts “No Jonny, you do”.The set list ranging from songs from their first EP to their newest album showcased the many talents of The Drums and the magnificent living art that is Jonny Pierce.