24th March | SWX
Unlike their peers, Django Django offer barbed pop concoctions that are far more dance-orientated than you’d think. Sweeping onto the stage with a backdrop of sky blue windows showing moving clouds, the neutrality displayed definitely did not represent the frenetic pace of their music. Having spent a good five years to release a new record, this break has pushed forward the band’s momentum in performance.
Coming across as a dramatic crossover between Tame Impala and Everything Everything, they didn’t hold back. SWX was packed out, even though their last gig was just a few months ago, round the corner at Rough Trade. This time around, it was less intimate and gave them more room to showcase their latest album to a bigger audience with more sonic flexibility.
‘First Light’ came in as the first delicate touch of reflective bliss, the anthem for every sentimental old fool celebrating the beautiful sunrise. This particular cut from Born Under Saturn threw the crowd into overdrive. While most cuts from the third album veered into more experimental territory, it stood as a manic carnival of sounds. Tonight was their moment to showcase that.
Whereas lead single ‘In Your Beat’ thrived as a natural stand-out, they managed to make other less memorable tracks from their latest album shine in their own light. For instance, the piano-led ‘Sundials’ started off politely enough and morphed into a jaunty and edgy rock number. They even breathed new life into debut album track, ‘Skies Over Cairo’ with the trippy Arabian synth line leading everyone into an acid dancing state.
As a live band, they no longer have anything to prove. They attract a large following from the younger crowd in their 20s looking to party along, with many in their 50s who danced just as much as everyone else.
They occasionally announced new tracks as if apologising for them, but there was no need. When songs like ‘Marble Skies’ and ‘Tic Tac Toe’ provide the kind of high that people pay good money for, they must be doing something right. Even leading into the encore, everyone was still bounding around as if ready for another gig.
The ninety minutes flew by as if it was a seamless DJ set. They carried bohemian bangers like ‘Champagne’ and ‘Marble Skies’ like only they could, providing a unique rave all the way till the end. Their live performance packed a genre-bending punch; they threw dance, R&B and psychedelic influences into the pot without any of the songs coming off as inconsistent. Making an effortless transition into funky dancehall on ‘Surface to Air,’ then digging seven years back for the lively ’Waveforms’ certainly took a lot more than three records’ worth of experience.
But don’t forget their knack for jagged rock gems. ‘Default’ thrust itself in towards the end with the familiar, odd digital bleeps and throbbing riff marching on through their break-out hit. For a group slapped with the reductive label of art-rock and alternative, their discography is surprisingly well suited to a club. Take one such track from their eponymous debut album – ‘Lifes A Beach’ – a catalytic fusion of thumping bass and quintessential surf rock that made for a ridiculously fun ride.
Many couldn’t get away with it, but for Django Django? Piece of cake.