A couple years ago at Bonnaroo, I was introduced to this British indie rock band Ten Fe via a friend I made on the festival circuit the year before. They’ve since become a favorite of mine, and Tuesday at the Troubadour I finally got to see them play a headline gig in LA, and it was everything I hoped it would be.
Touring in support of their sophomore album Future Perfect, Present Tense (which dropped in March), the English indie rock group uses a dual-singer setup — with Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan sharing duties. They kicked things off with Duncan leading the way on “Won’t Happen”, one of the early singles and the opener from their latest album.
Ten Fe played about a half-dozen songs from the new record, to much fanfare. Moorhouse took lead vocals on “Overflow”, one of the more Smiths sounding songs from their catalog. The aptly named “Echo Park” also saw Moorhouse take the lead on the slow burner.
“Coasting” is one of the other strong tunes from their new record. It’s a perfect companion to a nice long drive. It’s a bit War on Drugs sounding but with more oomph. The song that seemed most popular with the crowd was “Elodie” from their 2017 debut Hit the Light, and it’s also the song that first drew the band to my attention when I saw them at Bonnaroo 2017 at one of the smaller stage.
What followed “Elodie” was a stirring cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” — a commonly covered song that Ten Fe gave a great spin on.
One of my favorites from the latest record is “Caught on the Inside”. The chorus has a rhythm reminiscent of Madonna’s “Like a Prayer”. It’s an instant earworm. They closed their set out with “Single, No Return” from their debut record, and I love the guitar riff that appears throughout. It’s got a kind of early U2 vibe to it.
They came back out for an encore, playing a cover of Carole King’s “Chains”. That sent the crowd home happy and surely will have many anxious to see them again.
Photos by Tim Aarons