What makes a band a good live act? What makes them worth leaving the comfort of home, spending money and staying out late? Well of course there's the songs. I'm assuming that's why you're there in the first place. If you love the music there's a fair chance you will enjoy the show. But there must be more. I think there are a few factors at work. Effort. You really want the band to be giving a toss. Playing hard or just really trying. Some sweat flying. A difference. Songs interpreted in a slightly different way. Structures changed or songs elongated. Maybe a cover to surprise. Joy. Sometimes music is a serious business, but there must be some fun along the way. A smile or a thank you. Hopefully great communication, although not every artist is adept at this. Not every one is Billy Bragg. And lastly. Synergy. Band members meshing together, playing off each other. In tune. In sync. Well, Divine Fits have all this covered. They play hard, a ton of effort. They can jam with the best of them. They look happy. They definitely enjoy playing live. And there is certainly a truckload of synergy. They look born to play together in fact. All in all, this supergroup give a fuck. So should you if you love music. I do.
Divine Fits come out of nowhere. Seemingly. One minute we were wondering when the next Spoon record was coming out and what exactly was Dan Boeckner planning after Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs. Then we found out that Britt Daniel and Dan had formed a band. Furthermore they had recorded an album. "A Thing Called Divine Fits" was definitely one of 2012's great pleasures. It wasn't a masterpiece. But it was damn fine, with not a dud track on it. Dan and Britt split vocal duties. Pushing each other to great heights.. It was spare, lean, mean. A pulsing, dynamic slice of modern rock and roll. Each song had a sound, but each song was distinct. So it would prove when we saw them on stage at the Manning Bar on Wednesday night. The Rolling Stones classic "Street Fighting Man" was blared out over the venue and then keyboardist Alex Fischel came on stage to open with the syncopated notes of "Neopolitans". Soon the full band joined him and we were off. All the songs soared live. Whether it was the fiercesome groove of "Baby Get Worse" or the chunky "Flaggin a Ride". My two favourites were probably the mournful tone of "Civilian Stripes" and the atmospheric "The Salton Sea". Closing song "For Your Heart" was great too, with drummer Sam Brown tearing into his drum kit as Dan and Britt traded guitar licks. They seemed to be having so much fun too, as if this new band has given them a new lease on life. Not that they were jaded or anything, but I think a fresh and new collaboration has to be good thing. They are such talented musicians, it's very exciting to see where this new band will take them. As they only have one album it seemed natural to place some covers in the set. In fact the two encore songs were both that. "Sway", a Rolling Stones classic was fantastic. All slinky and sexy. Then they closed with an Australian classic in "Shivers", which was expected as it is on the record. Britt Daniel knocks this song out of the park. His vocal does the song full justice. A great way to end a great night.
Baby Get Worse
Flaggin a Ride
What Gets You Alone
Would That Not Be Nice
My Love Is Real
You Got Lucky (Tom Petty cover)
The Salton Sea
Like Ice Cream
For Your Heart
Sway (The Rolling Stones cover)