twenty one pilots
Poetry in Emotion
It seemed a lot of people in the audience at the White Stage were completely unprepared for twenty one pilots. Singer Tyler and drummer Josh took to the stage in skull masks, red socks and black outfits, and started off with a dark rap juxtaposed with lighter sections building up to perkier highs. Tyler sang balanced on a box on a mic suspended from the ceiling and then used this as a springboard to launch himself across the stage via grand piano and drum-riser, a kind of musical parcour mixed up with some inspiring lyrical poetry. The initial reaction where I was standing was one of initial confusion. Who was this masked rap-group leaping about and sounding like something halfway between Eminem and Regina Spektor?
twenty one pilots’ genre of choice has been named “schizophrenic pop” and it’s easy to see why they would choose something that complements their slippery ability to dodge being pigeon-holed into a genre. Every song kept you on your toes, flipping from rap to pop, to reggae (even the Bob Marley “No Woman No Cry” cover came as a surprise). Cutesy electro tinged with hard-hitting perk; catchy pop laced with dub; and nutty drum ‘n bass breakdowns overlaid with house synth produced an endearing eclecticism that resulted in the White Stage ground becoming an uncomfortably close throng of avid listeners leaping up and down and giggling in between bouts of singing.
With on (and off-stage) antics including backflips off pianos, leaping into crowds and top of vans, and pulling drums out into the audience for the final song, it wasn’t just the music that was unpredictable. twenty one pilots were one of the surprise acts of the weekend, another two-man band bringing with them the power to pull crowds and win hearts, and it’s certain that the band will have won over a huge number of converts from their performance.
Photo by JulenPhoto / Text by Laura Cooper
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