Darwin Deez @ The Governor Hindmarsh, Adelaide (03/05/11)
This show tonight was a hipster’s paradise, or perhaps a perfect outlet for those who wouldn’t usually let their inner hipster out to attempt to do so. What most surprised me about this special Groovin The Moo sideshow, of which Adelaide has been provided a number of this month, was the immense of young screaming girls after the blood of Darwin Smith, flamboyant lead singer of headline act Darwin Deez. Given that this was an all ages show there were certainly grounds for this to occur, but for some reason I never imagined Smith to be the next teenage icon of the 21st century. He comes across as more of an indie nonchalant, and along with his equally boisterous band, creates a vibrancy that cannot be ignored. And with the screaming fans hanging on his every word, it made for a fantastic atmosphere for a Tuesday night at The Gov.
As the night warmed up, East End Villains had already begun winning over new fans with their tribal-infused brand of indie kraut-rock. Their music is genuinely pulsating, and you get the feeling these guys are onto brighter days in the future. Although there was only a small crowd gathered early on, many started to flow towards the stage to get a glimpse of the 5-piece in action. It is a very engaging live show they provide, with the second drum kit adorning the front of stage adding an extra slice of intensity to the band’s sonic presence. Having seen them a few times last year it appears as though East End Villains have improved their sound markedly, showing that they are ready to take the next step in their careers. The support slot for an act like Darwin Deez surely does their cause no harm.
The Salvadors were up next and they put on a fantastic show, something which is expected of them amongst many of us Adelaide gig-goers these days. The guys were on a hiatus specifically to record the follow up to their successful debut EP, however stated they could not pass up the opportunity to support the formidable New Yorkers on their Australian jaunt. As the crowd slowly made their way in from the beer garden to fill the room, the Adelaideans began to kick start the party atmosphere and proved their wares with a set list that comprised tracks from their past, present, and some newer ones we are likely to hear more of in the future. Another band that generated some new fans tonight and brought about much hipster shuffling from the young ‘uns.
One prominent aspect of Darwin Deez’s set was not in fact the set itself. I have never witnessed a band with the prominence of these guys actually set up their own gear on stage without a single roadie. It was quite impressive to see and proves that if you can do it all yourself then why wouldn’t you? Once the gear was in place and the band came back out, they never quite looked back. This was not just a live show, but a fully-blown choreographed performance. Complete with interlude contemporary dance compositions to specifically themed mixes this New York 4-piece knew what they were doing on stage. Most intriguing I guess is the fact that musically, the songs on offer overlap each other on many occasions, almost as if Smith has cottoned on to a chord pattern and wanted to multiply it over again. Sampled drums mix with live stickwork, creating the band’s unique unrefined sound, while the guitars are rough and distorted, everything they should be in a live setting.
Yet the overriding sentiment of the night was that of fun. At one stage Smith even made way for a devilish white-boy rap loosely aimed at the mixing guy who, pre-show, wondered if the band would be moving around at any time during the show; this was their time to move around. Smith takes on the rapper tag with ease, spitting rhymes with impeccable flow, and moving through the bunch of adoring fans on the floor only made the crowd’s reaction to this gallivant increase rapidly. The crowd favourites were of note; major singles Up In The Clouds, Radar Detector and encore track Constellations gained equally as much praise as album tracks The City, The Bomb Song and DNA form the rapturous patrons, with the band running through the majority of their debut album in a set that lasted just over an hour.
Darwin Deez this evening ensured that no fan was left disappointed with the purchase of their ticket. The sentiment from Smith and other band members almost guaranteed a return visit, which heaps much praise on promoters for attracting a band like Darwin Deez to Adelaide in the first place and creating a legacy for this culture in future months and years. Among a slew of other Groovin The Moo touring artists to be stopping over in Adelaide this year, this 4-piece raised the stakes amongst their travelling peers. And with such an enigmatic frontman at their peril who couldn’t forgive the guys for dismissing their inhibitions and having a little fun? Clearly no one at The Gov this evening.