Three Trapped Tigers - Scala, London
It’s clear from tonight that since their debut emerged five years ago, noise-rock trio Three Trapped Tigers fan base has grown. A lot. Numerous festival appearances and support slots with the likes of Deftones have no doubt been a big helping hand in this, and headlining the iconic Scala is their biggest London show to date.
Japanese trio Mouse on The Keys open the show with a set of off-kilter, virtuoso nu-jazz. Comprising two keyboardists and a drummer, they play a frenetic yet melodic music that’s stubbornly hard to pigeon-hole. Staccato, overlapping piano lines are driven forward by effortlessly complex drumming in all manner of unusual time signatures and the predominantly male (and likely predominantly muso) crowd give the band a very appreciative reception.
By the time the headliners take to the stage, the sense of anticipation and buzz is palpable. Getting straight down to business they open with the titular, first track from new album Silent Earthling. This track really embodies the band’s sound; it veers seamlessly from jittery synth melodies to hugely distorted down-tuned riffs, to more quietly reflective moments and back again. The sound mix - unusually for the Scala - is absolutely crystal clear, and the band sound enormous.
Older tracks like 'Cramm' and the metal-inflected 'Noise Trade' (both from debut album Route One or Die) are met with jubilation, and something approaching a mosh pit ensues at one point. Elsewhere the slower, groove-laden 'Tekkers' has every head in the room nodding and several of the more melody-laden tracks provoke what you might call a wordless singalong.
The sheer, raw energy of the performance is mesmerising, as is the level of musicianship. Drummer Adam Betts is a monster behind the kit, pounding the living hell from his toms in the more frantic moments of the set. Tom Rogerson is studiously focused behind the banks of keyboards, while guitarist Matt Calvert headbangs furiously and throws his guitar around, somehow never missing a note.
The band finish with the anthemic, euphoric 'Reset' to rapturous applause. Barely any time passes before the inevitable encore, and old fan favourite '11' (from the EP 3) ends the show on a note of manic joy. All in all, a blistering performance from a band at the very peak of their powers.