REVIEW: Darwin Deez – Limelight 2, Belfast
It’s a cool Thursday night in Belfast and tonight I am in the Limelight 2 venue to see Darwin Deez do his thing.
After interviewing him last month I am intrigued to see what a live gig of his is like as he’s kooky to say the least. The support for his tour is English band Peluché, an all female three piece whose musical style is hard to pigeon-hole, which can only be a great thing.
They play a combination of guitar, bass, synth, clarinet and drums between them and create sweeping psychedelic soundscapes topped off with primal vocals. They remind me at times of a polished Babes in Toyland, and other moments they are like CSS. On ‘Sin‘ there’s quite a jazzy trip hop feel, while on ‘Ohio‘ with its catchy bassline and vocal harmonies they sound like a different band altogether. In all it’s a blistering performance from a band whose charm no doubt lies in the fact that they are jamming together and having fun and seeing what kind of music that leads to and they are not lead by styles or fads. Definitely one to watch. Check them out on Soundcloud.
Before Darwin Deez take the stage they have a team huddle off-stage of all four members. Taking the stage the frontman announces they are ‘Shauna Tohill and the Darwins‘, a nod to the fact that bass player Shauna is from our fair shores so it is somewhat a homecoming for them. In my recent interview with Mr Deez himself he promised plenty of dancing for the Belfast crowd and true to form the four piece break into a synchronised dance to Earth Wind and Fire‘s ‘Can’t Hide Love‘ and this sets the tone for the evening.
After the dance interlude they kick off with ‘Constellations‘ from the debut album simply titled ‘Darwin Deez‘. Straight away this has the crowd dancing and a smile plastered on my face as it is so summery and happy it’s easy to forget it’s chilly October outside. With ‘Up in the Clouds‘ next the summery poppy feeling continues although it’s easy to see the contrast between the older tracks and the newer music when the band launch into ‘Time Machine‘ from 2015’s release ‘Double Down‘. Deez’s newer material is more complex with a fuller sound in comparison to the sparse guitar sound on 2010’s album. The band take another dance break this time its synchronised moves to a Michael Jackson song. It adds an element of fun into the performance.
The stand-out track on the most recent album is for me ‘Kill Your Attitude‘ and this is rolled out next. It’s a catchy tune and I defy anyone to not get it stuck in their head after one play. This is followed by ‘You Can’t Be My Girl‘ from 2013’s album ‘Songs For Imaginative People‘, on this the frontman’s guitar skills are let shine and do the talking.
On ‘Last Cigarette‘ again the guitar skills are evident and it has a shimmery wistful quality. Tohill is a very physical bass player and looks like she is having the time of her life playing in such an upbeat band. Yet another dance interlude ensues, this time to Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow‘. Fan favourite ‘Chelsea’s Hotel‘ gets an airing next and prompts a singalong and praise that we ‘sound good singing’, yes we do. ‘Radar Detector‘ is another fan favourite and gets the crowded Limelight dancing and singing along with the jangly indie pop. Darwin Deez finish the set on ‘Bad Day‘ which is lyrically about as dark as they get and coupled with upbeat music it is not nearly as mean as it could be.
A Darwin Deez gig is unlike any gig I have been to before, a fun upbeat show with great music and leaves you unable to wipe the smile off your face. He promised dancing and fun and they delivered on both. Sarah McCrossan, GiggingNI.com