After their recent success in 2013, twenty one pilots show no signs of slowing down on their escalation straight to the top, which is proven tenfold at this sold out show at The Cockpit in Leeds. We are here and we have to say, we can see why there’s such a buzz around twenty one pilots from their live show alone.
To add to the success of any live gig you need energetic opening bands that will not only match the headliners, but get the crowd ready and excited. The night kicks off with London alt-pop band, Honours who keep up the energy from start to finish as the crowd rolls into the intimate tunnel setting of The Cockpit. Next up is Glasgow synthpop band, Prides who lay down double keyboard synth beats that kept the crowd moving throughout their set.
After an almost biblical gale from a smoke machine covered the stage in anticipation, the venue goes black except for the flashes of strobe lights illuminating the stage. A brief teaser of the song, ‘Trees’, is played in the dark only showing the silhouettes of singer and pianist, Tyler Joseph and drummer, Josh Dun and their signature skeleton masks through clouds of smoke, Twenty One Pilots go into ‘Fake You Out’, a pop-heavy, energetic track from the band’s album, ‘Vessel’. At this point the band removes their masks to the already captivated crowd to change the tone and pace of the show with the ukulele-oriented ‘Screen’.
Tyler maintains the calmer vibe of the crowd at this point with the band’s single, ‘House Of Gold’, another ukulele-focused track dedicated to Tyler’s mother leading straight into a cover of Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. After tugging on the heart strings of the audience with a family-focused break in the set, the Ohio pair continue with anthemic songs that their fans go wild for such as ‘Holding Onto You’ and ‘Semi-Automatic’. The most impressive feat of the night is when Tyler manages to split the entire crowd in half with pretty precise timing during the song, ‘Car Radio’, which is exactly what happens in the music video for the song. The admiration and pure attention that is thrown to the band by the crowd could be felt from miles away; jumping almost in unison, clapping at the right times and throwing their hands up. The atmosphere feels like we are inside a very finely tuned machine created and led by Tyler and Josh.
When it seemed like they couldn’t top themselves after backflips on stage from Josh and crowd surfing while singing from Tyler, the duo played back to back tom drums on stage, reminiscent of the style from the musical ‘Stomp’ and then managed to transport themselves and their drums into the crowd, continuing to play without missing a beat while being lifted and supported by members of the audience. It was a spectacle that can’t be done justice without witnessing it firsthand.
If you ever see twenty one pilots live, whether you understand their music or not, you’ll leave knowing more than you ever thought possible. Tyler proclaims throughout the concert that he wants the show to be a therapeutic experience for the crowd and we have to say they hit, and then go straight through the mark.