Live Review: Django Django

Django Django | Barrowlands |3/12/2015|

“This is the largest venue we’ve played in Scotland!” guitarist Vincent Neff announces midway through Django Django’s electrifying gig at the Barrowland Ballroom. This is hard to believe. Since their first album release in 2008, the four-man band who met at the Edinburgh College of Art have grown in popularity and enjoyed great critical success, having been nominated for the Mercury prize in 2012. However, this is a band that you really need to hear live to truly appreciate they know how to transfix the crowd with their strange and wonderful sounds, beats and reverberating vocals.

The gig begins with bright colours: reds and greens in a psychedelic display behind the band’s silhouettes. The crowd is already hooked before the music even begins to play. Tonight’s set is mainly focused around the band’s new tracks, from their most recent album Born Under the Sun, released this year. The pacing of the show is fantastic; beginning with slightly slower but still uptempo numbers, they move between songs smoothly, giving way to the more surprising instrumental combinations of their heavier tunes, perfectly suited to the deep, dark, star-studded, sweaty setting tonight.  

At one moment, the synthesized sounds and deep bass rhythms are replaced by a purely acoustic instrumental piece, performed with great energy but markedly contrasting with their usual sound. Happily, though, the crowd are going wild at this point and are open to anything presented to them.

Highlights include ‘Reflections’, ‘First Light’ and ‘Shake and Tremble’, played with their characteristic combination of high-pitched bleeps, offbeat rhythms, surprising chord changes and light, airy, penetrating vocals.

The magic of Django Django’s live performance is that the audience really gets to witness the scale of their musical talent: electric guitars are replaced by acoustic guitars, then by drums, then by cowbells, tambourines and guiros… and there’s a saxophone too!

As the gig nears it end, the audience are told to crouch down and everyone is on board as excitement builds. The beat sets in and everyone jumps up, dancing wildly.

Django Django are certainly a band to watch, and we mean that in the literal sense. Their experimental, mesmerising performance leaves you wanting more and more.

[Kirsty Dunlop]

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