The 22-20s Play House of Blues

It must be a tough gig opening up for Cage the Elephant at House of Blues in San Diego. All of the anxious future mosh pitters judging your level of hardcore, while waiting for the headliner’s lead singer to begin screaming into a microphone whilst sweatily thrashing about the stage. For a four-piece band from the United Kingdom, however, it apparently wasn’t a tough gig at all.

The 22-20s, made up of Martin Trimble on guitar and vocals, Glen Bartup on bass, Dan Hare, the newest member, on guitar and backing vocals, and James Irving on drums, put on an entertaining, badass performance last night, successfully warming up the HOB crowd and preparing them for the craziness to ensue further along the hour.             The band, which broke up in 2006, reconstituted themselves in 2008, adding guitarist Dan Hare, and toured secretly in the UK under the alias Bitter Pills, the title of the second track on their new album Shake/Shiver/Moan, to be released June 22nd via tbd records. Since the secret tour and subsequent release of live EP The Latest Heartbreak, 22-20s have been hitting America hard, first touring with Band of Skulls and The Whigs, then with Cage the Elephant. After experiencing a 22-20s show firsthand last night, I must say that I see big things for them in their American future.

What was most evident during the set was how well the band members communicate with each other. Simple glances between members can indicate many things as far as the playing of instruments goes, and in my highly uneducated opinion regarding how an instrument should be played, those glances indicated the right things. Trimble’s vocals paired with those of Hare’s were flawless, albeit a tad too perfect for my expectations of a rock show, and greatly hinted toward his UK roots. Songs like the title track of the new album, as well as “Latest Heartbreak” and “Heart On A String,” were a great testament to the talent of the band members and their dedication to creating well thought out and whole-heartedly played music. The set was so loud that it sounded a bit muted, and, trust me, that’s a very good thing. Very rarely do I find myself tapping my foot to the opening band, but last night I did just that.

You can catch 22-20s in Los Angeles at Spaceland on June 11th. As far as Cage the Elephant goes, please explain to me the rationale behind mosh pits.