Three Trapped Tigers, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 10 May 2016

Cambridge quartet Grieving opened the show tonight, they are gaining a reputation for their distinctive rock with Indie and American emo shades. They are at their best when the full-on guitar and drums is unleashed in unpredictable bursts on many of their songs and were a strong musical contrast with what was to follow. With recordings now appearing they are a welcome addition to the Cambridge music palette.

Named after a Ulysses-influenced novel, Three Trapped Tigers are a trio from London, playing tonight to an enthusiastic crowd in the Portland to support their newly released album ‘Silent Earthling’. Like many paradoxical aspects of the band, they were anything but ‘silent’; this was probably the loudest gig I had seen in this venue for a while.

There is something about their all-enveloping instrumentals that seems unique; jumping between genres as keyboards flow under screaming guitar, then synthesiser lines that suddenly leap back to the tones and rhythms of 70s prog rock but without any of the more ponderous baggage. Underpinning it all is the drumming fireworks of Adam Betts, a great example of how a live drummer is a near-essential for high tech electronic based performances (see also ‘Public Service Broadcasting’…).

Perhaps the lack of vocals makes the listener concentrate on the intricacies of the music without trying to decipher lyrics or be in thrall to the antics of the lead singer (a bit like classical music?) and there was plenty of density, richness and adventure in their intoxicating sound.

As Brian Eno has said….‘TTT is at the cutting edge of contemporary music. Watch your fingers!’


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