If Django Django is the bedroom band they claim to be, then it’s clear they’ve been there a while. Even the domestic blinds they use for a backdrop to present Kim Coleman’s exceptional and in-vogue mystic computer graphics, on stage at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, comes to great effect. It offers the serrated projected imagery of a creepy, mutating smiley-face, cosmic scenes of intergalactic travel and virtual reality universes where the grass grows purple and the sky is a digitally generated illusion. Having wowed a Metronomy audience with their perfect execution and self-evident work ethic early last month, it’s hard to believe this is Django Django’s first headlining performance since relocating to London from Edinburgh in 2009. But immediately, following some of the primal Spiritualism of their soon-to-be album debut lead single, ‘Waveforms’, it becomes clear that this is a band with crossover potential.
Apart from the street cred-winning promise of diverse sonic exploration –with a dash of synth-operator Tommy Grace’s outlandish electro samples –there are what you might call some real rock n roll crackers of songs, like ‘WOR’. The riff-driven urgency of lead singer and guitarist Vincent Neff would have thrown down to Franz Ferdinand back in the early millennium. That, of course, is if ‘then’ was ‘now’ –where the US New Age vibe of weird 90s electronic artwork and sonic journeying is all the rage and David Lynch’s Transcendentalist music venture has made its debut. Of course, it could just be Neff’s Northern accent that brings said Glaswegian dance rockers to mind, as he amiably fills the air with banter as guitars are switched or a second synth is set up.
Like people who’ve had two years to think about it, Django Django have mulled over and co-ordinated every element of their live performance, from matching pyrotechnic t-shirts to the official photographer, come on stage following the set to snap the lively audience before it disperses. As is to be expected, the show isn’t without it’s mishaps –a loose guitar strap here, delayed song interlude there –but it’s clear the band have gone all out to make an impression. It’s just as well they have, because the room is packed to the point where people are either pressed against back door exit or the drunken revellers with little concept of personal space; hips swinging, fists pumping to the strongly cadenced fundamental of Django Django’s electro-pop-rock hybrid.
There’s also much room for dancing tonight –musically, if not physically –with a sound that is grounded between tribal poly-rhythms and a pounding bass that keeps one’s head jerking, whether they mean to or not. It’s here that Django Django’s connection reaches beyond the merely physical or mental and into the spiritual. Theirs being a new mutation of the modern musician –producing clever but enjoyable music for the masses.
(our impression from last Tuesday’s concert @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen)