Ahead of The Rapture’s long awaited return to the stage for the Just Like Heaven festival in Long Beach, CA (details HERE), on Monday night they played an intimate hometown show in Brooklyn, New York – a one night only performance that served as their second time on stage together since 2012*, as well as a warm up for a festival that includes other early 2000’s favourites like Passion Pit, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT and more.
Set at the iconic Music Hall of Williamsburgh (capacity of around 650), where they also performed their final show in 2012, the band pushed through a set of fan favourites – in front of a sold out crowd, most of whom were lucky enough to have nabbed tickets in the mere minutes it took to sell out earlier in the year (I myself having to jump on at 2am Sydney time to make the purchase myself).
For a band who have been together since 1998, it’s hard to believe the band only released three full length albums in their time together – 2003’s Echoes and 2006’s Pieces of the People We Love and 2011’s In the Grace of Your Love. All three records featured in the set – with their 2011 release taking up half of the set – and they also snuck in the track “Olio” from their 1999 debut EP Mirror.
The night opened with the titular “In the Grace of Your Love”, and closed with an encore featuring “Children” and “How Deep Is Your Love?” off the same record – which was their go to set closure in the final year or two of performances. In fact, a quick look at the setlist from their final shows at the same venue in 2012 (where they played for three nights), shows an almost identical setlist. Songs like “No Sex For Ben” (which was notably a rare play even in their hey day), and favourites like “Don Gon Do It”, “The Sound” and “Sister Saviour” were among the absent tracks from the set, but it was hard to flaw what they ended up featuring. After almost 7 years, we were happy with anything. And the excitable crowd delivered on that enthusiasm.
The group floated between seeming like they were having the time of their lives up there – flashing smiles and a whole lot of cowbell – to seeming a bit awkward. It’s fair for the latter though given they haven’t played these songs in a long time… they were no doubt not “going through the motions” as might have been suggested in 2012, but rather concentrating on getting the music sounding right. And for the majority, it sounded great. They had two backing vocalists to add to select songs, and the only hiccup was during “The Devil” (a personal favourite), when they had to stop the song due to either some technical difficulties or Luke blanking on the lyrics (maybe a mix of the two). Luke left the stage briefly and the rest of the band told some jokes until he returned and they pushed out a superb version of the track.
Support duties were from the band’s own Luke Jenner and Seedy Films, a self-described “whimsical” punk band that sees Jenner on drums. They are a reasonably fresh band but showcased a tight, engaging set. So it was a busy night for Jenner. Nonetheless, he brought great energy to the stage and his voice has rarely sounded better.
The rest of the band jammed well too, having a good play leading into “Come Back to Me”, and playing after the lyrics of “How Deep Is Your Love?” had come to an end, just as they used to do on their final tour. The crowd gave off huge energy too, singing along and dancing to just about every song, though unsurprisingly singles like “Pieces of the People We Love”, “Whoo! Alright – Yeah… Uh Huh.” and the main set closer “Echoes” were among the most participated moments.
I have to say it was among the most fun shows I’ve ever been to. There was a palpable sense of excitement in the room that the band were back on stage, and we all knew we were there for what was going to be a special show indeed. And their music – with its catchy lyrics, great melodies and ample cowbell – speaks for itself. Everyone in that room grew up dancing to it, and having the chance to do it again in the live environment was nothing short of a great time.
Beyond the festival date in Los Angeles there are no announced plans for a more substantial return to the stage for the group. And there was no sense from the band tonight that anything was in store beyond these shows; though they did ask if the crowd had been to their last show at the venue six and a half years ago, to which there was a loud applause. Then the applause for those who had never seen the band before seemed just as loud – a sign that fans of the band have never stopped accumulating. The only indication that this wasn’t their last show in the city was a brief throwaway mention that they could address some issues around a joke at a future show, and a couple of posts on Facebook also indicate they couldn’t rule out more shows or new music, though neither had been organised yet. Still, it’d be great to see these guys back on the international touring stage, and given tonight’s reception, I’d say most of their fans would very much agree with me on that.
In the Grace of Your Love
Never Die Again
Pieces of the People We Love
Get Myself Into It
Whoo! Alright – Yeah… Uh Huh.
House of Jealous Lovers
Come Back to Me
How Deep Is Your Love?
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Keep tabs on the band and any future announcements on their Facebook Page.
*The band played a brief surprise set the week before this show for Luke Jenner’s 44th Birthday, which was their first time on stage together since 2012.
The author travelled to NYC and attended the performance at his own expense.