September 30, 2012

Review: Django Django @ The Echo, Los Angeles 9/26/12

You could tell the Django Django crowd Wednesday night at the Echo was one of those massively excited crowds that seems several times larger than its actual tally. After opener Vinyl Williams’ set, it was difficult to move around; by the time the Edinburgh-based quartet took stage, the numbers had even swelled at my preferred Echo listening digs, (back-center, near the soundboard), leading me to explore new spots at least three times during the set. Ironically, it was exactly how I thought I wanted to see Django Django— during their first visit to Los Angeles, amidst a packed house and on the heels of their Mercury Prize nomination.

Opener Vinyl Williams performed well and did their duty in getting the crowd amped for the main event. Their youthful precociousness is impressive, as is frontman Lionel Williams’ musical lineage (he is the grandson of Spielberg’s go-to composer, John Williams). Their music is enjoyable and instantly appreciated, shoegazey post-post and all that good stuff, but Mr. Williams’ voice doesn’t carry enough power to do the music justice. In that sense it needs a little more time in the incubator. Nor was his voice distorted enough to really become part of the music and create a wall-of-sound, which is a shame because the music itself is just about strong enough to stand on its own as part of any discerning music lover’s “epic builds” mix. Lionel Williams is also an exhibiting artist who specializes in collage, and seems to have quite a bit of talent in that field as well. Vinyl Williams are a great band for the radar and it’s clear that Mr. Williams gives a great deal of thought to art and the process of artistic expression.

The break between sets was understandably long. Besides the intimate Bardot School Night on Monday, this was Django Django’s first performance in Los Angeles — an extended sound check is oftentimes in order for a band to sound its best in front of the sea of cultural purveyors (and to rid the organism of unwanted butterflies). Therefore very early sound issues felt inexplicable and seemed to throw The Django’s off inially at the start of what would become a redeeming set.

For the first half of the set, Django’s bass drum and bass guitar took over the house. The band’s rendition of “Hail Bop”, my favorite cut off the LP, was driving with it’s industrial Devo like quality and one of the cleverest lyrics in recent memory. And like the many Django Django live videos I’d seen on Youtube, things started to balance out by the fourth song, which I believe was “Love’s Dart”. “Firewater”, a bluesy, Mavers-esque cut, was one of the strongest of the night and some of the African-inspired rhythms so lauded on the album had more of a house, or dance, vibe live. I’ll cede that they’re a new band, and the album’s sound is deceptively nuanced, very unique for a band still in its formative years. Songs like “Default” stole the set and put the masses in motion. got the masses moving. Django Django closed out strong and received a lengthy applause, which was unsuccessful in eliciting an encore. Review by Chris Gedos

Django Django (Facebook)
The Echo california (Official)

RATING: 8.13

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