Beneath the giant rotating fan of Brooklyn Steel and after seven years away from New York, English post-punk band The The played a show that was deeply political, uniting and inspiring the audience.
They opened with “Global Eyes,” and lead singer Matt Johnson’s unmistakable voice encircled the crowd and wrapped them up with the lyrics “Mobilize, globalize, hypnotize, homogenize.” They catapulted into lyrical chaos with “The Beat(en) Generation” from Mind Bomb and sang “When you cast your eyes upon the skylines of this once proud nation / Can you sense the fear and the hatred / Growing in the hearts of its population?” Their songs are incredibly lyric-heavy, but they don’t sacrifice any instrumentals. Instead, both lyrics and instruments are extensions of one another and combine to make The The’s unforgettable sound and anarchic themes.
For “Flesh and Bones,” Johnson lamented how the City has changed and the sight of cranes building huge skyscrapers and destroying neighborhoods was upsetting, but we can’t forget how things used to be and where we came from. “Heartland” was a song that Johnson encouraged the crowd to sing along to even though it has a “very British chorus.” The crowd obeyed and sang along at the end with “All the bankers gettin’ sweaty beneath their white collars / As the pound in our pocket turns to a dollar / This is the 51st state of the USA.” Halfway through the set, their tone changed with “This is the Day” and slipped into their new wave sound with the help of a melodica and pop drenched keyboards.
They rounded out their set with “Lonely Planet,” and Johnson crooned over catchy choruses “If you can’t change the world, change yourself.” Near the beginning of the set Johnson said he realized “After the brooding extraction and evasion, there just wasn’t enough time” before singing “Armageddon Days Are Here (Again).” While it was a theatrical statement, Johnson’s words still rang true and reminded everyone about the monstrosity and injustices of the world and the need to be engaged and fighting against it. The audience realized this and clutched at the message and held onto it after the last person filed out and the doors closed behind them.
Sweet Bird of Truth
Flesh and Bones
The Beat(en) Generation
Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)
We Can’t Stop What’s Coming
Love is Stronger Than Death
Dogs of Lust
This is the Night
This is the Day
Slow Emotion Replay
I Saw the Light
Like a Sun Risin Through My Garden
I’ve Been Waitin for Tomorrow (All of My Life)
True Happiness This Way Lies