DJANGO DJANGO - LIVE @ ROUNDHOUSE
By Adam Simcox
DJANGO DJANGO: Thanks guys! Ok, we’re going to play you a song from the new album.
BLOKE AT THE BAR: I didn’t know they’d got a new album out…
HIS MATE: Yeah.
BLOKE AT THE BAR: Oh. Is it any good?
HIS MATE: Nah, it’s shit.
It’s not shit – it’s hamstrung by lumpen production, a dearth of killer tunes and a rampant infestation of difficult-second-album-itus – but it’s most assuredly not shit. It does, however, leave the band with something of problem, particularly on a night such as this. It should be a triumph; their biggest headline gig to date at one of London’s most prestigious music venues, and at times, yes, they flirt with triumph, or at least, pay lip service to it. But all to often apathy wins the day, as the audience’s attention drifts when the band unleashes another plodding cut from their sophomore album Born under Saturn.
Django Django’s energy and application can’t be faulted – they patently mean it, and are grateful for the opportunity to play a venue such as the Roundhouse. No rock posturing here, no contrived arrogance or phoned-in attitude; this is a band that recorded their first album in the lead singers bedroom, four short years ago, and attack the songs with the fear that they’ll be sent back there at any moment. They won’t, not while they have songs to fall back on such as Hail Bop and Waveforms, played with and modified here, transformed into shuddering rave monsters that could make the dead dance, and even spark life into the eclectically aged crowd here tonight.
It’s at moments like this, when the music melds into the endearingly lo-fi projections (The Chemical Brothers they ain’t), and lasers split the sky, that Django Django will make you believe, make you believe that they’re something more than just a band that sort of sounds like the Beta Band and Hot Chip. And then they’ll spark off another cut from the new album, whether it be the go nowhere Vibrations, or plodding First Light, and the faithful go back to looking at their phones and discussing Christmas plans.
It’s a set, nevertheless littered with real highlights, such as the stripped back, visceral take on Default, a song they’re unlikely to ever better but that few other bands could match. It’s shorn of much of it’s sonic complexity and trickery here and is the better for it, even if it does end in an unsatisfactorily abrupt manner.
The highlight happens halfway through the set. The band casts off their shackles with Slow West, an electro-flecked, driving guitar led instrumental that featured in the Michael Fassbender film of the same name. It’s unexpected, spirited, and quite superb. It’s also different to anything they’ve done before, and points to an intriguing future for the band. Who knows, they may even win over BLOKE AT THE BAR.