Django Django

It’s good to go to a gig with no particular expectations and to come out thinking this is your new favourite band. And this happened tonight! I recently saw Django Django on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ and Marc Riley on Radio 6 has been playing them a lot. I thought they sounded interesting, so it was a treat to see they were actually on in Birmingham.

NZCA Lines

The stage is set for the support band, NZCA/LINES, with three tables covered in white cloths, with various electronica assembled on each……plus a cymbal suspended in mid air. NZCA/LINES are an electronic three-piece, led by Michael Lovett, named after the famous markings in the Peruvian desert that can only properly been seen from the air (the work of aliens, some say). Lovett sings quite poppy songs in a falsetto voice to an electronic beat. Perhaps the material might be described as a little in the Hot Chip camp, but more stripped-down. Nevertheless the sound is original. It is quite sparse and repetitive, but at the same time rather funky, lush, catchy and appealing. It is also subtle. They now have an album out too. Like their album cover, they are very ‘arty’, which is maybe why they get to support Django Django!

Django Django

I must confess that I am a sucker for experimental ‘art-school’ type bands like Django Django. It probably goes back to my discovery of Roxy Music all those years ago. At the time Roxy Music really sounded like the future had arrived. There is also a futuristic element about Django Django’s sound, although only time will tell if they are built to last like Roxy.

Django Django really did originate from art school in Edinburgh. They are a four-piece with guitar, bass, drums and synthesisers. Trying to describe the sounds of new bands is not always easy. Django Django seem to span rock and electronica – they are a kind of cross of Metronomy and Franz Ferdinand. They certainly have the kind of spikiness of FF.

Django Django

They also remind me a lot of Devo. They have Devo’s angular sound and rhythms and they have that certain strangeness too! Their material is pretty diverse. There seem to be a whole range of influences in there including psychedelia and surf guitar. With this sort of band it is fun trying to work out all the influences as they work through their repertoire. At the same time the music sounds very original and they have some great songs.

Django Django

What is more the band are really great live. Maybe they even sound better live than on the album. I thought they might be shy and retiring electronic geeks, but far from it. They really rock and have the crowd in the palm of their hands. The catchy rhythms are really foot-tapping and the songs instantly memorable. They are certainly a band you can appreciate on first hearing, which I think is a tribute to their originality, their skills as musicians and the range of the styles and influences.

Django Django

The show takes place in semi-darkness with plenty of strobes, which creates an appropriate atmosphere. The band have a matching dress code, which consists of psychedelic tee-shirts with different motifs on for each member. The group members do a bit of swapping around on instruments, with multiple drum banging and multiple keyboard tapping at various times. The vocal harmonies are great too. It all keeps the audience interested throughout.

Django Django

The one hour set is all material from the debut album, including their best known songs like ‘Default’. There is a deservedly great audience reaction at the end, which is far beyond the usual ‘we expect an encore, so get on with it’! As I write this I am listening to the album tracks repeatedly on You Tube. I ordered the album this morning and I am now eagerly awaiting it dropping through my letterbox. Listen to the album and go see them if you get the chance.

Photographs and Review by John Bentley

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