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The Temper Trap Ends on a High Note

October 23rd, 2009

The Temper Trap/Mumford & Sons – Music Hall of Williamsburg – October 22, 2009

The Temper Trap
The Temper Trap’s lead singer, Chris Mandagi, beckoned the crowd to surge forward. The band was in the middle of an eight-song set at a nearly sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg. It wouldn’t be fair to say the set up to this point was pedestrian, but it certainly wasn’t an elevating artistic moment. The band’s much-licensed smash single, “Sweet Disposition,” tipped the whole evening toward something different. So as Mandagi chanted the lyrics, he beckoned us forward.

An hour earlier, British folk-rock act Mumford & Sons dominated the same stage that Mandagi would later try to crush the crowd against. Rife with banjo, upright bass and full-on four-part harmonies, Mumford & Sons is the first band to ever move this many people without a drummer. The crowd knew the lyrics though the band would later joke that their album isn’t out yet in the States. The implication was clear (you stole our album) but the accusation was invisible (still, thanks for singing along). They closed with a new song, “Whispers in the Dark,” featuring the closing line, “let’s live while we’re still young.” There isn’t anything better to tell a room full of people who are mortgaging sleep and jobs for the sake of a music festival.

Slipped back in medias res and the Temper Trap crushed their final four songs following “Sweet Disposition.” Closing with “Science of Fear,” Mandagi did his best vocal clown car, with a surprising amount of material coming out of a seemingly tiny vessel. As the song closed, he turned to his band let the mike thud to the floor. The Temper Trap urged us forward and then retreated in kind. We were left to live while we were young. And that’s what we did. —Geoff Nelson