REVIEW: Visceral post-punk tunes and high-energy melodic rock at DIIV gig


DIIV, Concorde 2, Brighton, September 23

DIIV, a melodic guitar band, was initially called Dive (after a 1992 Nirvana song) and was originally a solo project born in the Brooklyn bedroom of Zachary Cole Smith in 2011.

But Smith decided to change the band name so as not to be confused with Belgian industrial artist Dirk Ivens’ solo project of the same name.

Now the band consists of Smith on vocals and guitar, Devin Ruben Perez (bass), Andrew Bailey (guitar), Colin Caulfield (keyboards, guitar) and Ben Newman (drums).

This sold-out show was rescheduled from March 28. It’s fair to say that DIIV are increasing in popularity as the cancelled gig was itself an upgrade from the original Haunt booking.

So this was DIIV’s Brighton debut.

I do like DIIV musically (if not as people), but like so many in the music business, they have courted their fair share of negative press.

Tonight’s proceedings were kicked off with an all-too-short half-hour set by a Bristol-based quintet called Idles. If they were to just stand there without playing you would think by the way they looked, that they were about to launch into something from hippydom meets Hawkwind. Nope. They make loud visceral post-punk sounds.

Singer Joe looks as though the band just grabbed a passer-by off the street. He does not appear to fit in to their look! But that’s just it, that’s exactly what they wanted to achieve. I mean ‘Dev’ looks like he should be in ZZ Top.

I have to say that myself and both my mates agreed that Idles were probably the best band on the night. The punk band The Dead Kennedy’s think so too as they have chosen Idles as their support for their upcoming London shows.

Next up for another 30-minute set were Harris, Frank and Ben from Blaenavon (which incidentally means ‘front of the river’ in Welsh) who hail from Hampshire. They play, at times, radio-friendly youngster-rock and should do rather well.

Should get quite a teenage fan-base, methinks.

Anyway, from 9pm DIIV performed all of the melodic-jangly tracks that I really wanted to finally hear live, such as ‘Under The Sun’, ‘How Long Have You Known?’, ‘Dopamine’ and ‘Doused’.

I was right at the front with the moshpit happening behind me, so the audience were really up for it.

But, to be honest, by the end of the gig, I found myself getting a bit bored. Especially when Smith kept banging on about the crowd clapping and not liking them much because they had twice cancelled.

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