A Live Experience with DIIV, Totally Mild and Crepes at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, 12th February 2016

jameslondon1_blue_blurThe uncertain success of DIIV may well be the product of the musical world we live today, where access to good music is infinite and the rate at which it spits it out is constant, meaning that “fans” don’t have time to settle and deeply connect with a band. Tonight, with support from the endearing Crepes and even sweeter Totally Mild, DIIV deliver something magical, intense and though-provoking and on a lighter side of things, have us thinking why there were so many caps worn in the bandroom tonight.

To describe DIIV’s sound purely based on their two albums, you can understand why Mistletone Records (thanks for tonight) selected Crepes and Totally Mild as supports, however post-gig, what DIIV deliver live goes way beyond their studio sound to become something so intense and electrifying, many of us were lifted to a whole new level. Dream-pop, yeah right!!

Crepes were first up tonight but having seen the chaps play a handful of times we weren’t there earlier enough to offer our usual support, but judging by the crowd as we peered through to the band room, it was great to see some merrymakers there early to listen to their infectious pop tunes. In hindsight, perhaps we should have dropped in to catch the last song even to see if they took our advice on wearing the same blue T-shirts (reference Review a few weeks back).

Totally Mild, another pop band from Melbourne, fronted by Elizabeth Mitchell, (who looks lovely in her favourite dress) deliver there disjointed take on pop music, thanks to Mitchell’s delicate vocal and intricate song writing. Lead guitarist Zachary Schneider really shined tonight, layering each song with usual intricate and skilled guitar melodies that weaved perfectly through Mitchell’s lyrical story telling. Schneider is a first-rate guitar player with his ability to bring drums, bass, lead and vocal together like a perfectly sewn seam. Mitchell’s voice has comparative moments of Elizabeth Fraser from The Cocteau Twins combined with Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura, in fact, come to think of it, Totally Mild would fit contentedly as support to those Scottish pop wonders. There was certainly a good turn out to hear the band and hopefully a few more fans will follow, following their set tonight.

1429807934diiv_promo_1001_website_image_kfpa_wuxgaWe counted around 14 caps within our vicinity, that is a lot of caps worn at an indoor gig at 10pm at night, but as the band stagger on to the stage earlier than their scheduled 11:10pm start, all wearing a variety of caps, we put two and two together. Maybe a coincidence but an interesting observation that kept us focused while waiting for the band to start.

The projector screens on either side of the stage are usually set to broadcast the live performance of the band on stage but tonight DIIV used their own footage that captured their lives (with Sky Ferreira) , providing a compelling backdrop as they played through an electrifying 1 hour and 25 minute set, around 21 songs.

Opening track Human, sounded rich and powerful and instantly took the studio recording to a whole new level. Andrew Bailey’s guitar playing and choice of guitar effects were grand, it sounded even better live. This is the first time, for many of us that we had seen DIIV and it has been 3 good years since the release of their debut Oshin, so the majority of the audience were lapping each moment. We were certain that the band could feel it and the energy was combined to create extraordinary powerful moments.

A few songs done and the band were subjected to some unfortunate audio issues but they just kept playing, either for the fact that they had no idea what was happening or they just stepped up the professional game, I think the former was the case.

The set list (which went missing toward the end of the night when a crowd surfer stole it) was a blend of most of the tracks from their latest album, Is The Is Are with the best of the tracks from Oshin.. There was something mesmerising and immensely engaging about lead singer Zachary Cole Smith, and teaming up with fellow guitarist Bailey, the two didn’t so much engage with one another in the physical sense, but through a connection beyond what we could see, it is wonderfully captivating to watch. The band were effortlessly tight and immersed, the rhythms where fluid and delivered with utter force.

As DIIV took us through a rollercoaster ride of emotion and passion, the intensity grew and the fans at the front of the stage worked themselves to a frenzy with a resulting crowd surfing reaction to the delight of the band, confirming that it was not only us, slightly stood back from the stage, that felt the energy at The Corner Hotel.

Standout tracks from the new album were Dopamine, Dust, Under The Sun and Is The Is Are and from Oshin there was Sometimes, Oshin (Subsume) and Doused. Doused was their final song and brought tonight’s gig full circle with its immersed state of intensity. Come to think of it the whole evening was standout, each track blending into one complete performance.

Zachary Cole Smith, again thanked Melbourne, reminded us that they were DIIV from New York City and politely gestured at the idea of encore. Of course one was expected as they always are, although tonight this was well-deserved and necessary. The band quickly returned to the stage while the energy was still alive and burst into 3 final tracks, Follow, Past Lives and Wait.

TWL are lucky enough to see their fair share of gigs so that we can write about them and share them with you, we like to think that they are less a review more about an experience. Tonight was one of the nights that is simply too hard to put into words, perhaps it was our mindset or simply that this is a band that is vital to expressive youth culture. There is so much more to DIIV then their albums and we really hope that in the coming years, as they deliver more great albums, they will earn the kudos they deserve.