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6th March 2012

Live: Django Django @ Deaf Institute

A mesmerising and genuinely impressive set from the Edinburgh quartet.

Django Django
Deaf Institute
29th February
5 stars

As the encore begins, we are probably the youngest people in the music hall. The cool kids must be doing MDMA out of each other’s baseball caps somewhere else. Either way, Django Django have justified their slow-burning hype with a mesmeric live performance.

While the Edinburgh quartet’s self-titled debut album is a reasonably endearing electro effort, the band transforms into something altogether more impressive when on stage. Powered by a technically adept rhythm section, the group’s one-hour set turns inoffensive album tracks such as ‘Firewater’ into unstoppable, rabble-rousing juggernauts. The band’s myriad array of synths, meanwhile, are utilised with much greater confidence than on the LP. Even vocalist and guitarist Steven Neff delivers his lyrics with a surprising passion, contributing to a sound akin to No Age refereeing a gang fight between Animal Collective and Devo.

Impressively turned out in matching T-shirts, the band open with ‘Intro/Hail Bop’, a track which deploys the synths probably played when nuclear reactors go into meltdown before laughing it all off with a wonderfully anthemic chorus. This swaggering approach continues throughout the set, with the audience whipped into a frenzy by the time recent single ‘Default’ appears. ‘Firewater’, meanwhile, keeps the capacity crowd in motion to a deft bassline. The metronomic, cowbell-happy drumming of David Maclean, the group’s sometime producer, only adds to the momentum.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the performance, however, is the ease with which Django Django incorporate their more eccentric tendencies into the live show. Whether using halves of a coconut during ‘Love’s Dart’ or embracing traditional Egyptian melodies on ‘Skies Over Cairo’, these moments seem neither convoluted nor pretentious, but entirely appropriate. It is this rare capacity to combine art-rock flair with dance-punk passion that makes the group’s recent emergence so exciting. Go and see them next time they’re in town. Take your dad.

Django Django – Default

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