I only knew two songs played last Monday. In fact, the main attraction was a band only five shows into its performing existence and busy touring to support their first album, a record that doesn’t come out until the end of the month. The aforementioned pair of songs songs were the (as of yet) only singles released by the group. On the surface, this kind of scenario seemed like a bad setup. But the band members involved, indeed the very style of music played saved the crowd from an evening of confusion and made for a great rock show in an intimate setting.
Divine Fits are the indie supergroup made up of Britt Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs) and Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks), and they’re currently on a promotional tour in support of their forthcoming debut record A Thing Called Divine Fits. Their personnel composition is curious, but the live experience manages to cut almost right down the middle of their combined strengths.
I’ve previously heaped praise on Spoon and their minimalist-and-smooth style, but Daniel’s manages to blend nicely with the angular and quasi-electronic feel from Handsome Furs. Synth and distorted keyboard sounds served to add depth to the mix while Sam Brown’s rhythmic contribution gave every song a solid groove, enough that even an awkward guy like me couldn’t help but move a bit. I was particularly impressed by Boeckner’s performances as lead vocalist. While I anticipated (and witnessed) fantastic work by the best singer in rock (Daniel), I didn’t expect the kind of attention-grabbing power that the Handsome Furs leader could bring. In fact, the split vocal duties in the song “Baby Get Worse” split the difference quite nicely.
Like the rest of the crowd, I was drawn in by the familiarity of the two singles (“My Love is Real” and “Would That Not Be Nice”), but that kind of reception served to improve the overall performance. Particularly, “Would That Not Be Nice” saw the band fall into an outstanding groove and elicited a raucous cheer from the audience. The combo of Britt Daniel’s singing and a massive guitar is reason enough to see a band.
Unfortunately, the audience itself was the one real drawback to the experience. Ace of Cups was a good venue (reasonable acoustics, acceptable view of the group), but people nearest the stage were a distracting blend of obsessive photographers (effectively causing a non-stop strobe show with their flashes) climbing or pushing around everyone to get their shots, and wannabe-moshpit-folks who disrupted the fairly relaxed mood. Luckily, both groups calmed as the show continued.
Divine Fits are a promising group and their (fifth ever) live performance was certainly an enticing preview of their new record. Be sure to look into their live dates for a chance to experience their sound and check out the NPR stream of A Thing Called Divine Fits now.