Django Django, Cast of Cheers @ OAF, Sydney (1/8/12)
While the crowd may not know their name just yet, but The Cast Of Cheers certainly make their impression felt. Their robot guitar licks morph into stomping fuzz and are underscored by an unrelenting bass throb, but it is drummer, Kev Curran, who is the engine driving the machine. His churning drums are technical and vibrant, laying down complicated rhythms and stopping on a dime. His created a solid foundation for guitarist Neil Adams to loop numerous layers of guitars before adding chirpy synths to their impressive sonic layer cake.
triple j favourites Animal and Human Elevator are perfect jaunts of indie guitar-pop, providing a nice balance to their sets harder moments. Singer Conner yelps more than croons but he was tuneful enough to snare anyone undecided about their performance. While their friendly sing-a-longs may have impressed it was their hard math rock style that wowed most and they fittingly end their season on one last furiously kinetic number.
Django Django may be Scottish but their sound is a mash up of different American genres, mixing spy and surf rock guitars with vocal harmonies, as well as Devo’s no nonsense song structures and new wave electronics; they even borrow from Devo’s knack for uniforms, although the Brits matching shirts are far less outlandish. But while they maintain the perfect harmonies and rigid beats their performance is far from clinical; there is a raw energy from the performance that not found on their record, drums snap harder and harmonies seem grander.
A large share of the room’s energy can be credited to the audience, who seem to be a cast of all ages. Young sweaty faces turn the front of the stage into a bouncing castle; while those of the audience who dance floor days are a thing of the past are cutting rug on the stairwells and the back landing. The band feed off this energy and everyone off stage and seem to be having a great time, bass player, Jimmy Dixon even getting his own personal cheer squad much to his surprise.
With less than an hour of music to their name, everything from their debut gets a showing, with singles, Default and Waveforms proving to be unsurprising favourites. Their set wasn’t entirely surprise free; the instrumental Skies Above Cairo turned Oxford Art Factory into a Middle Eastern dance party, complete with a soliloquy from front man Vincent Neff describing their long journey to finally come to Australia over psychedelic swells and electronic twitches.
They close their set with triumphant surfer jam and advertising jingle WOR; undoubtedly converting any fence sitters left. Will Django Django, survive what has already been a high pressure mega year for them? Will they come out stronger or will they fade away? After tonight’s performance it’s hard to imagine them being stopped.