Divine Fits – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (04/02/13)

In town for Laneway Festival, and before an enthusiastic crowd at The Corner, Divine Fits made a convincing case last night that they are more than simply a side project.

Having formed in the beginning of 2012 as a collaboration between Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs’ Dan Boeckner (and also including drummer Sam Brown and keyboardist Alex Fischel), the American/Canadian collective released the impressively solid A Thing Called Divine Fits in August, quickly earning critical praise and topping many ‘best album’ lists by the year’s close.

As is often the case with so called supergroups, the notoriety of the musicians can often distract from the music, fortunately however, Divine Fits have both the musical chops and the tunes to ensure that this is not the case. With only the single album to perform there were no surprises in the set list, but the band managed to give the material a sense of urgency and excitement beyond the recorded arrangements.

“Flaggin a Ride” and “What Gets You Alone” were early highlights but did not get nearly the audience reaction that was afforded to “Would That Not Be Nice”, the latter’s instantly recognisable drum beat and heavy bass line providing an effective juxtaposition with Fischel’s atmospheric synth and backing vocal parts. Lead single “My Love is Real” was a testament to what a captivating performer Boeckner is; he exhibited an incredible amount of energy, writhing about whilst never missing a note.

The almost obligatory local references to Triple J, “cashed up bogans” and Melbourne/Sydney rivalry seemed genuine and the band seemed to be enjoying the experience of touring this new project to the other side of the world and being so well received. Whilst Boeckner handled the majority of the lead vocals and the spotlight due to his energetic onstage persona, Daniel seemed content to play sideman, watching his bandmates jump around during an exciting (if a little Killers-esque) rendition of “For Your Heart” with a smile on his face.

Returning for an encore of a remarkably different, almost bluesy version of The Rolling Stones’ “Sway”, the band ended their set with another cover, Rowland S. Howard’s classic “Shivers”, which was stripped back to just bass, drums and Daniel’s vocal for almost its first half, allowing the desperation of the lyric ample space to breath until ending a wash of guitar delay. Many bands have attempted to cover that song but very few have managed to pull it off as well as Divine Fits, and it was a fitting conclusion to a concise (twelve songs) but impressive set.

Let’s hope these guys see fit to keep this band alive so we can see them return to our shores with even more material to offer.

Originally published on The AU Review on 06/02/2013. View original article.

Photographs by Serena Ho. View photo gallery.

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