Thursday, 17 March 2011

Does it offend you? Yeah @ The Sugarmill 15th March 2011

Review by Sian Eardley

Photo by Rebecca Leese

DIOYY? Well, they asked the question and here is how it went down… There were tight sets between bands coming on and off which is always a win, and main support act: ‘Hounds’ certainly made a bold impression by going to the extremes, but in an enjoyable way. Take Wolfmother in one hand, and Pendulum in the other, give it a hefty shake, and out comes a hardcore rock/dance project that I wouldn’t be half surprised to find compiled on one of The Matrix trilogy’s OSTs. With a wannabe frontman sporting a striking similarity to Keith Flint, it’s clear who inspires them, but they also add their own spin on things. And, of course it sounds modern; those jagged, aggressive electronics with a (Johnny) Rotten attitude, creating a frenzy on stage. They were more than passable, and more than ‘decent’, not to sound nonchalant, and their pulsing bass tone was credulosuly distinct. Flickers of drop-beat drumming and four-string twanging highlighted their interpretation of RATM. Interesting isn’t quite the word but curious is how I felt after seeing their performance which was simply a bristling, firey, punk tirade. Their closing track – ‘Wicked Witch’ – which yes, sampled ‘The Wizard of Oz’ at both the start and finish, was quite a wonderful exploration of their bizarre musical hybrid style. The dancing drone of: ‘There was a witch, now she’s dead and she’s under our house’, was the hypnotic chant that stayed with me for a while, matched with Rob Zombie ‘Dragula’ sounds, to sound truly ‘out there’. It did cross my mind that maybe if I’d taken certain substances it may have had more profanity, or at least offer something logical when under the influence, but don’t get me wrong, they didn’t lack allurement.

In the gap between Hounds and the headliners coming on, I was expecting Th>e Mill to fill up drastically, bit this was to no avail, this was DIOYY for Christ’s sake! Back in 2006, you couldn’t move for being smothered with NME’s rave (see what I did there!?) reviews about them, which helped them to achieve God-like statuses. Have they, as a fashion, died down? Were we just left tonight with the real fans, the ‘hangers on’ from years ‘ere gone by? Where were the neon kids waving their glow sticks about like moths to a flame? These were worrying moments, but worry I needn’t have; they soon came to life after the 80’s sci-fi intro opener, to welcome the band on stage, sounding like a deviant remix of Irene Cara’s ‘What a feeling’.

DIOYY were clearly in the mood to party, and with good cause, having released their second album: ‘Don’t Say we Didn’t Warn You’, only the day before, as well as kicking off their tour to celebrate in Newcastle. Though it did come as an awkward moment right at the beginning when James Rushent attempted to decipher between the real fans and the sellouts who had merely downloaded their latest efforts. And I should also address their very flowery language that kept cascading on the audience for the entire duration, up to the point of it becoming uncomfortable. With all this hype, I was thinking they’d perhaps be better attuned to the likes of The Underground rather than The Sugarmill – an act absolutely perfect if you want to get ‘on it’. Their indie industrial vibes of mashed up dance, may also have been better suited to a Friday/Saturday night gig to get truly into the spirit of things. If you’re into Annie Mac’s experimental/dance/drum and bass radio show, then these guys are just the ticket, offering ‘balls-out angry stuff and serene melancholic, quite depressing stuff as well. We'd rather show all our hands like that rather than write a whole album that sounds the same." (See MySpace)

With their whole cussing and arrogant air (they thought) they had working for them, it was obvious they’ve been on big tours accompanying Linkin Park and NIN, but you can’t just pull that off, especially when you’ve been off the scene for years and it’s taking so damn long to get going on your set! They became irritable, and I understand they’re hot stuff for today’s kids, and they were big in my college days, but then and even now I struggle to see what the fuss is about, and I was desperately trying to find the light.

I can only liken it to the ‘Enter Shikari’ phenomenon – they crashed onto the scene, all the cool kids fell in love with them, and now they’re nowhere to be seen, but I imagine upon their re-emergence they’d be of the same pompous swagger as DIOYY.

They just seem to miss a certain – je nais se quoi - you know, the thing that catches on, the feel-good stuff, that synapse connection where you’re totally in synch with their message and you get where they’re going, and with this failing this led to the disengagement. There’s not enough emotion, or variety, it’s just very harsh and angsty – where’s the love and the finesse? Later on they even performed a song, made specificially for Radio One (‘Moulds’? – couldn’t tell over all the swearing)- which goes to prove my point – maybe they don’t want to be commercially huge, but they’re also not accessible to everybody. They’re too concentrated.

However, when they shy away from their ferentic efforts, and go for the harmonies and guitar melodies, it’s like a whole different band on stage; a poetic metamorphisis, to which they’re actually pretty good. Up and down, up and down, I can’t say that tonight wasn’t an experience, or an education… But then they have to go and spoil it with more cussing (and hey you’re not frickin’ Ozzy!)- trying, like Pendulum to become masters of electronica, but if you think about it, Pendulum filled the gap of DIOYY’s absence.

The night became about waiting for those symphonic guitars to kick in, and I wanted to plead with them to keep going like this as it was that good; it needn’t be corroded by computer generated blah, which gets really monotonous by the third track. I have to hand it to them that yes they’re loud, they’re brazen, and if I was younger and an alleged academic, more well known as a party animal, I’d be inclined to rave on to the serious Daft Punkish anthems. I think it’d take a lot of beer or getting smacked off my proverbials to understand their means. Skinny boys is suits in the magical Tardis could produce better electronic themes, and I think DIOYY should stick to the basics and keep it simple, ‘cause their mellow stuff is brilliant, and leave it up to Hot Chip to produce alternative/electro rock, as they do the job cosmically.

‘Lets Make Out’ was one of two winners of the night, once the hysteric opener dies down and the soothing ‘I’m in love with you my baby girl’ hits the speakers, the whole thing isn’t so terrifying after all. ‘Dawn of the Dead’ really emphasized their ‘quality’ edge. A tranquil Buckley-esque ‘Hallelujiah’ temprament - but – no, wait… here comes another Godzilla moment of acid electro machines stomping over all that is good.

Their brash fashion made me feel like they were generating the graphics from The Gossip’s ‘Standing in the way of Control’ video straight from the speakers. Their experimentation was attention-grabbing, but no flowing fluidity or semi-structure, resulted in me not being sold. Reflecting back to 2006, I’m glad I chose the Klaxons path, and I desperately wanted DIOYY to prove me wrong tonight, and they didn’t.

So I wasn’t a convert, so it wasn’t my cup of tea, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t check out their array of musical offerings on the DIOYY imagination train, and, in answer to their question, I wasn’t offended, but nor was I bewitched.

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