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LIVE: Twenty One Pilots – Perth, 7 Dec, 2018

| 18 December 2018 | Reply

LIVE: Twenty One Pilots – Perth, 7 Dec, 2018
RAC Arena, Perth, Western Australia – 7th December 2018
Review & photography by Damien Crocker

A band known for their relentless touring, it’s only just over 18 months since the nonconforming duo of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun, better known as Twenty One pilots, were last in Perth where they finished their Emotional Roadshow tour off the back of their last album, Blurryface. This night the pair were back at the RAC Arena, starting their international Bandito Tour, giving fans a live taste of their new album Trench, with the Arena full of devotees sporting the bands trademark looks, from yellow bandannas and stripes to skeleton outfits.

Local hip hop veteran Drapht was the opener for the night, featuring a simple setup of guitar and drums, he hit the stage with heavy beats and slick rhymes to win over what I suspect were a large percentage of the Twenty One Pilots army who were getting their first taste of the Perth artist. Despite potentially coming in cold, Drapht was able to get the crowd jumping with his infectious style. Playing guitar, Timothy Nelson, one of Perth’s most creative musicians, showed off another feather in his cap by taking over the mic to share vocal duties with Drapht, bouncing lyrics off each other and getting the crowd waving their hands in sync. The response that came when the first notes of flute rang out signaling the start of hit Jimmy Recard showed that maybe there were a few Drapht fans in the house. Many of the decade old references in the song may have been lost on the younger crowd but the hook is timeless and the song was still a hit ten years later. A top set from Drapht and good to see him still producing solid material and winning new fans.

Emerging from the darkness, lit only by a flaming torch, and masked in a bandanna and hoodie, drummer Josh Dun made his way across the blackened stage before making his way to the drums, soon followed by a balaclava clad Tyler Joseph, appearing on top of the burning shell of a car at the back of the stage. With no introduction, the masked pair launched straight into Trench opening track Jumpsuit. Shifting between the vulnerable vocals of the verse and the thundering bass guitar and drums of the chorus, the song laid the foundation for a night of contrast and spectacle.

Continuing the flow was the albums second song and the second song of the night, Levitate, seeing multi instrumentalist Joseph, still masked, making his first of many switches between bass and piano.

Fairly Local started a block of tracks from 2015’s Blurryface and it was clear to see there was much love for this record-breaking album. Masks now off, crossover hit single Stressed Out delivered one of the biggest responses for the night. Joseph was back on the piano for the next track, drawing a big cheer from the crowd as he played the first notes of their track Heathens from the Suicide Squad soundtrack, with signing duties handed over to the audience for the first verse.

A quick outfit change and another change of pace for the night with Joseph back on stage sporting a Hawaiian shirt, big white sunglasses and Ukulele for the upbeat We Don’t Believe What’s on TV and The Judge. Zigzagging both musically and visually yet again, Lane Boy saw Joseph performing with a scarf over his head as two men in white hazmat suits and gas masks came out and sprayed smoke across the stage, the only other people to grace the stage for the night.

“One of the first songs I ever put a rap inside of”, the ballad Taxi Cab had the arena lit up with a mixture of white and orange lights from the crowd, adding to the overall atmosphere of the song.

“We got here a few days early and got a bit of sun time, and it seems you guys have a thinner ozone layer” Joseph shared with the crowd, later looking up at the huge video screens and saying “Looking at myself on the screen you can barely tell I am in pain from sunburn”, but not even an overdose of the harsh Western Australian sun was slowing him down as he encouraged people to get on the shoulders of the person next to them as they closed out Ride (much to the shock of venue staff who had spent much of the evening stopping this behavior).

The band continued, focusing on Trench, with the newer material all well received and already familiar to the majority of the audience. A couple of older numbers from Regional at Best/Vessel were thrown in for good measure.

Crowd interaction was the order of the night, with Joseph and Dun both performing while suspended by the crowd at different points, the latter playing a cut down kit being held up by the first few rows, and Joseph suddenly appearing late in the set at the back of the venue on a raised platform, ensuring everyone at the venue got to feel as much a part of the show as possible. Dun is particularly engaging on drums as he switches up beats and styles across songs, creating a strong focal point for the show.

Encore track Trees ended with both Joseph and Dun climbing out onto the crowd to simultaneously pound two large drums while confetti rained down across the arena, bringing the evening to a climactic close.

A Twenty One Pilots show is, strangely enough, like their music, never in one place for two long, jumping energetically from pop ditties, hiphop, reggae, piano ballads, upbeat ukulele and electronica, punctuated by outfit changes, big screen visuals, drum fills and all other manner of device to ensure that musical experience of their albums is translated into the live space. They are a band that have been able to tap into their predominantly younger audience and engage with them with a lyrical honesty that serves as type of therapeutic outlet, and the live experience was no different, giving all present a genuine and up close experience.

Set List

Fairly Local
Today’s Your Day
Stressed Out
We Don’t Believe What’s on TV
The Judge
Lane Boy
Nico and the Niners
Taxi Cab
Neon Gravestones
Pet Cheetah
Holding on to You
My Blood
Car Radio

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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