Djanimals @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (18/11/2010)
2010 has been a huge year for Djanimals leader Jonti Danilewitz – working with superproducer Mark Ronson and becoming the first Australian act to score a deal with the highly regarded Stones Throw label in LA. however Djanimals is still almost a secret on home soil, but surely the calvalcade of high praise and international endorsement has given Danilewitz something to prove?
Domeyko/Gonzalez opened the show with a marathon set that lasted a full hour. They concocted a shitstorm of keys, loops and delayed saxophone, with some songs and “jams” but mostly just self indulgent stupidity. There was occasional gold in them bloated hills, particularly when a world ending groove eventually cut the sonic bramble, but mostly the Domeyko/Gonzalez set lurched back and forth like a rabid animal, which somebody should have shot twenty minutes sooner.
Freya Berkhout and Alyx Dennison’s Kyu is become a similar beast, though their tallent has been roped, tied and lovingly nurtured. Like Djanimals they have had a phenomenal 2010 filled with live shows and award wins. Their take on pop is filled with ambient sounds and tribal colours, that seesaw between the delicate and immensely powerful, with Trains providing a high point and newer songs not featured on their debut aiming even higher.
The Djanimals band (featuring Domeyko/Gonzalez) walked on to a crowd that had evaporated by a third. The band’s set heartbreakingly consisted of great production works turned into indie rock of the unremarkable variety, interspersed with awkward banter from Danilewitz. Though new single Nightshift in Blue didn’t fare too badly, many of the intricacies of Djanimals truly beautiful music were lost in the live setting. Simply put: Danilewitz’ current live incarnation is a discredit to his wonderful talent. Next year Djanimals will drop an album via one of the world’s most illustrious hip-hop institutions, hopefully his live show will have dramatically improved by then.