“The Australian U2” is how Temper Trap was described to me by Christine, a college student from Binghamton, New York who is a huge fan of Temper Trap and wants to “have babies” with the bands pretty boy front-man Dougy Mandagi.
I have to admit, that was a turn off for me. Not about Christine, believe me it was a pleasure standing near her, but for Temper Trap. I despise the music of U2. I contemplated walking out of the tent, but I was dead center and four rows from the stage, plus, you know, Christine was next to me, so I stayed.
The band started playing and was surprised at what I heard.
“I thought you said Temper Trap was like U2,” I said to Christine after a few songs.
“They are,” she replied, “Can’t you hear it?”
“A little bit,” I said, “But there’s a distinct difference. These guys are actually good.”
A little later Temper Trap blasted into its big single and World Cup 2010 anthem “Sweet Dispositions,” the band’s hit off its 2009 debut Conditions, and I realized that’s where the U2 comparison is coming from. This track combines the “best” of the U2niverse, the soft tenderness of “With or Without You,” the rock of “Vertigo,” and the emotion of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Bono wishes he could write a song this good.
And one thing you will never find at a U2 concert is a mosh pit. This is actually the first show I have ever been to where I and the rest of the audience were lost in the beautiful music one minute and banging bodies the next to an intense, upbeat, instrumental jam called ”Drum Song.”
You will never see Bono take out a drum head and smash it repeatedly until the sweat frantically whips off his face with every swing of his stick, like Thor dropping his mighty hammer of the gods. Mandagi doesn’t have to worry about ruining a pair of pink sunglasses, so he can bang on his drum all day.