Well that was different, beguiling and at times, bizarre. But it sure was entertaining. A sold-out crowd on a miserable Tuesday night in November were sent home happy by Darwin Deez. The theme is set from the off when the four musicians led by Darwin (in trademark headband) literally lept on stage and to a backing track mix tape, danced their way around it before they launched into opening song ‘Up In The Clouds’.
These dancing interludes – like a hipster Village People – were soundtracked by funky mash-ups. At one stage Enya met Rage Against the Machine. Potentially traumatic but somehow it worked. It’s the “two-pronged experience” of the Darwin Deez live show apparently. A little song, a little dance. Whatever it is, it brings a smile to your face.
The connection with the crowd is evident throughout as songs are sung straight back. ‘Bad Day’ is the undeniable highlight – managing to transcend the venue’s limitations and smash through into technicolour. It was gratifying for fans to hear a band not afraid to play around with the album tracks in a live setting. Intros were teased out, outros extended. Everything on the right side of indulgent.
Some minor quibbles; muddy sound – Academy 2 take a bow. Actually, don’t. It was also difficult to tell whether Darwin’s undeniably sweet voice was lost in a venue unable to serve it properly, or was simply stretched at the end of a five-month European tour. Both perhaps.
Our giant karaoke dance session finishes with a barnstorming ‘Radar Detector’ and an underwhelming ‘Deep Sea Divers’. And with that the ramshackle exuberance, energy and sheer chutzpah of the Darwin Deez experience come to a close.
Photo by Mark Earley courtesy of Ragged Words.