Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
9th June 2015
Back in May DIIV confirmed a couple of live dates to complement their Field Day slot in London. Harley Cassidy reports back from the Birmingham one.
For a band who’ve been around for four years, DIIV have crafted their brand particularly well. Four typical indie slacker guys from Brooklyn with a penchant for reverb, it’s not something that hasn’t been heard of before. The only difference is that the music DIIV makes is truly beautiful; heartfelt enough that you don’t even have to listen to the lyrics to understand the emotions lead singer Zachary Cole Smith conveys.
DIIV formulated whilst Cole was still playing guitar for Beach Fossils. Initially named after the Nirvana song of the same name, Cole has since declared that the ideal behind it has changed to something more congenial; astrology. He and his bandmates all have water signs, making it “total sense” to name the band, DIIV. Of course, the Nirvana comparisons will always still hang; Cole’s slight frame, the ultra-baggy clothing, the American drawl, the grunge girlfriend and of course, the drugs.
To cut a long story short, two years ago Cole and girlfriend Sky Ferreira were caught with 42 decks of heroin by the police and ultimately, it tarnished their glowing reputation. Once heroin’s involved, things take a serious turn and Cole was left with writer’s block due to the sheer guilt of the infliction it had on Sky’s career.
Amid all the controversy, it’s a wonder that DIIV’s music can even breathe for itself. Now, with the announced details for their second album, Is The Is Are, the buzz that surrounded DIIV is palpable again.
Tonight, the band are decidedly on point. Cole seems in his own wonderland, barely looking up at the crowd half the time, head pointed to the ground, fixated by his own guitar. He only really speaks before each track, simply to declare each and every time, “we’re DIIV”, much to the audience’s amusement.
With cheekbones that could cut through ice, and his hair piled precariously on top of his head in a makeshift ponytail, there’s a reason why this guy modelled for Saint Laurent. With a crowd hotter than Hades who practically worship the band, things soon get jovial. Bodies are surfed, mosh pits are formed and guitarist Andrew Bailey, who’s so high he doesn’t even look part of this planet, is in hysterics at the crowd. “Can I just say Birmingham, you’re my favourite of the tour so far”, declares Cole.
There’s a handful of new songs introduced tonight too, most notably the murky Waste Of Breath, which suggests a heavier direction for the band. The rest of the show is indebted to fuzzy guitar playing amidst the intoxicatingly heavyweight choruses of firm favourites How Long Have You Known and Sometimes.
Finishing with the bone chilling rumble of Doused which grows into a free for all wig out, it’s clear that DIIV are a band who can deliver time after time. Cole’s vocals are just as perfect live as on record and whilst they’ve cemented somewhat of a notorious reputation, it works in their favour. No one likes a boring band after all.