The Temper Trap - The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto - March 25, 2012 - Canadian Music Week

Review and Photos by Dave MacIntyre

The timing of The Temper Trap’s performance at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Sunday night couldn’t have been better.  By adding the show in one of the final Canadian Music Week time slots, the Australian 5-piece (since the permanent addition of Joseph Greer) deftly avoided the need to promote the date as part of an official Temper Trap tour.  Instead, front-man Dougy Mandagi took the opportunity to test run a fine selection of material from the band’s soon to be released self-titled sophomore album, on a live audience.  Judging by the constantly enthusiastic response of the fans all evening, they were more than happy to be his guinea pigs.

Although Mandagi openly admitted he would be singing a lot of new songs, he promised not to entirely avoid the oldies.  Early on, a monumental version of “Drum Song” in which Mandagi swapped his guitar for drum sticks and beat them into splinters, proved he would keep that promise.  Toby Dundas on drums shared the cymbals with Mandagi who maneuvered between his own bongo and the full-sized kit.  Lorenzo Sillitto led the charge on guitar and Jonathan Aherne’s tight bass playing added thick layers and form to the wall of sound.  The aforementioned Greer on keys, although barely visible in the darkness of the stage, added an overall richness to the audio atmosphere.  Musically, they sound excellent when playing together, but any fan of the band will agree it is Madagi’s falsetto vocals that truly sparkle and make The Temper Trap unique.

The new material, which included performances of “Need Your Love” and “Rabbit Hole”, sounded lyrically darker than 2009’s Conditions, but was musically upbeat and not at all depressing, increasing my anticipation to really get into the new album when released.  The mega-popular “Sweet Disposition”, and arguably their best song to date, was saved for last but only after a vague teaser of an intro was played before Sillito cut into the instantly recognizable opening guitar riff.  The eruption of cheering from the crowd brought smiles to their faces and assurance of a short but sweet 2-song encore before the house lights went on.