Ohio duo Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph are known for their meaningful lyrics and energetic performances. However these are just words that can be applied generically to any old performer who writes an emotional set of lyrics and jumps around the stage a bit. Twenty One pilots however take these words on a trampoline and then into a blender, as you haven’t known an energetic artist until you’ve seen these guys live.
Manchester’s Deaf Institute, played host to the duo like it has acts such as Florence and the Machine, The 1975 and Johnny Marr in the past. The intimate venue provided a booming sense of excitement with thanks to the natural acoustics of the room.
Entering the stage, the pair take their places behind their respected instruments both bearing full faced masks and Tyler in a long fisherman jacket. Instead of walking around the drums and piano, they decided that climbing over them would instead be more convenient. Hinting towards the attitude of the stage presence that they will later fully unleash as they begin with track “Guns for Hands”.
Continuing with a lack of authority, Tyler sings the lyrics whilst perched on his piano as he intimately produces the vocals as the crowd take no time in raising hands in the air and jumping along to the pounding beat of “Guns for Hands”. The consistency of crowd excitement was so ridiculously high they could keep red bull out of business as with every lyric and musical drop they continued to maintain their appreciation.
The pair showed no hints at slowing down when suddenly the room darkens and an enlightened microphone ascends from above. The crowd continued to show excitement, as this was a clear sign to them that hit track “Fairly Local” was lined up. Reaching out for the mic, turning it upside down and aggressively beginning the lyrics, the beat echoes around the room as the club drops to the beat as Tyler chants out the opening words “I’m Fairly Local…”
The stage bears no boundaries for the front man as he takes his energetic persona off the stage and onto the bar where drinks were being served alongside the main stage and down the side of the crowd. Whilst maintaining the vocals for the track and truly raising excitement levels through the roof as the dimensions of which the performance were available were now coming from all directions.
After the sheer energy given off by the pair and the aggressive nature of “Fairly Local” You can’t help but think that perhaps these are a ‘hard as nails, in your face type of act’. To which they then take the time to address the crowd asking, “ How are you? It’s important that everyone’s okay” in a soft and light tone of voice, showing another break of the mould that they seemed blessed with the ability of doing.
Entering a more calm and relaxed section of the show, which may have been all the better for them as the adrenaline must have caused their heartbeats to be pounding out of their chests, the jacket is removed and a ukulele is then brought out as “House of Gold” takes full advantage of the venues acoustics.
During “House of Gold” Tyler then passes on the position of surreal stage atmosphere to the crowd, by asking everyone to bend down. The total attendance must be around the 300 mark and so every single member of the audience crouched down to their knees and then beginning to jump along when the chorus kicked in was something quite special. Having the ability to bring the place to total silence and the average height to around 3 feet to then raise it to maximum capacity for all round excitement is a remarkable gift that the pair have perfectly achieved.
Following the audience participation and a brief cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” Tyler then asks the crowd “if anyone knows the handshake?” in which he is referring to the newly released music video for ‘Stressed Out’ where the pair stop the music for a complex hand shake routine before entering a house. One lucky member of the audience was helped on stage by the frontman and then proved her loyalty as a fan as she perfectly completed the routine with Drummer Josh, resulting in the crowd being amazed as well as Twenty One Pilots themselves.
The tempo is then thrown full throttle as popular song “Tear In My Heart” is then began to play. By now the duo seem more comfortable and seem to be enjoying themselves, now in the knowledge that the crowd are loving every little twitch of their bodies. With a hearty “ 1 2 3 4…” the pair catch the crowd out by stopping and then restarting the song whilst both cheekily grinning at each other as they enter the final few tracks.
Finishing with an almighty crash of symbols and thank you’s through the mic, the crowd seem hungry for more as shouts requesting various other tracks emerge. “That’s not how this works” Tyler responds holding back laughter “you cant just shout out songs and we go 1 2 3 go!” then entering an old fan favourite of “Car Radio” finally ending with a good bye and a swift exit from stage.
The Deaf Institute then began heavy stomping and chanting “We Want More!” which was rewarded quite quickly by the immediate arrival of Twenty One Pilots returning to the stage. Ending how they started the performance, climbing over the instruments, Tyler then addresses a heart-felt message with regards to their journey across from the states and musically, before finishing with their final track of the night “ Trees”.
Trees was no calm goodbye however, as staff began to bring out platforms with drums placed on them laying over the crowd. Mid performance the pair then end the performance in an epic send-off by climbing on top of the platforms and then banging the drums perfectly in sync with each other.
After the song had finished the crowd roared in appreciation and the pair threw an arm around each other and took a well-deserved bow towards the crowd as the cheers and chants continued until the last foot left the stage.
Twenty One Pilots’ new album ‘BlurryFace’ is due for released on the 19th May and if you have the chance to see them live you should not even hesitate in grabbing them tickets!