A concert can be simmering along quite nicely when something happens that immediately ramps it up to full boil. That happened halfway through the Temper Trap’s 80-minute set at the Granada Theater Tuesday night when singer Dougy Mandagi — blessed with one of the most powerful and elastic voices in indie-rock — let loose a full-throated wail in Ordinary World that sent a shock wave through both the crowd and the band. From that moment on, the show went from strength to strength.
Certainly, Mandagi is the Australian group’s key asset, the talented constant in a band that has seen some changes in the last few years. Guitarist Lorenzo Sillitto left in 2013, trimming the number of members from five to four. The recent Thick As Thieves album, the band’s most commercial in sound, features collaborations with such outside songwriters/producers as Pascal Gabriel (Goldfrapp), Ben H. Allen III (Belle and Sebastian), and Justin Parker (Sia, Lana del Rey).
But Mandagi remains the Temper Trap’s beating heart. From the soaring, sway-side-to-side ballad What If I’m Wrong (in which Mandagi’s signature falsetto channels the spirit of ‘70s American R&B vocal groups) to the more pumping rock tracks Science of Fear and Alive or the dramatic, Radiohead-reminiscent Soldier On, Mandagi was the center of attention Tuesday night.
That’s not to say the other members didn’t pull their weight — guitarist Joseph Greer added a ferocious edge to Summer’s Almost Gone — but Mandagi is what really makes the Temper Trap distinctive. The show culminated with a sweeping Sweet Disposition that turned the enthusiastic crowd positively giddy. It’s the group’s most popular song and the one where all of its strengths — a shimmering melody, Mandagi’s fluid, flexible vocals, Greer’s sparkling guitar, and the solid rhythmic support of bassist Jonathon Aherne and drummer Toby Dundas — are on full display.
One quibble: the set should have been longer to make room for such omitted tracks as Fader, Rest and Lost. Come on, guys, when you’re cooking on all burners like this, don’t skimp on the ingredients.