Sunday, February 13, 2011

Darwin Deez at The Media Club (Vancouver)

People call him a hipster, but when Darwin Deez and his merry band of misfits took the stage, it was quickly apparent that they are actually a group of awkward guys who lose all inhibition when they are in their musical element. There is no Bohemian snobbery, just some really catchy guitar-based pop songs and some whimsical numbers of interpretive dance to famous songs, scattered throughout the Darwin Deez live set.

He only has one album under his belt so far, so he played everyone's favourite song, whether it was the apologetic love poem of “Up in the Clouds”, the clever de-personification of his new uninhibiting lady friend in “Radar Detector” or the dark wishes of endless annoyances upon his non-friend in “Bad Day”. As the show progressed, the dance numbers slowly faded into awkward yet entertaining stage banter, with Darwin repeating his catchphrase, “It just got Coldplay in this bitch!” after every song, and asking us how we say “Cheers!” in Canadian. By this point, his guitarist was loosening up and throwing in all sorts of seamless, yet out-of-key, riffs into the songs. I have a thing for bands that have the ability (and the balls) to throw out the musical math, and the Darwin Deez band has it in spades.

Near the end of the set, Darwin introduced his new rap mixtape Wonky Beats, entirely sampled from Willy Wonka and featuring Das Racist. All his band members participated, dropping beats and raps over the wonky beats. Cole the Guitarist even performed a continuation of Das Racist's hilarious “Shorty Said” — “Shorty said she wants to have a twosome/That's gruesome.” When they finally left the stage, the crowd shouted for an encore while Darwin and his band struggled between their nonconformity (encores are such an overdone routine) and the pressure of their fans to give them one last goodbye, which they did.

Darwin has a few US dates left before he heads to the UK and Germany, followed by an extensive Australian tour in April. His self-titled debut has been out for nearly a year, but is now getting it's official US release through Lucky Number on February 22nd! Cop it at your local record store!

Darwin Deez - Candyman (feat. Donovan Deez) (YSI) from the Wonky Beats Mixtape

Previously: Darwin Deez Q&A

GIVERS at The Biltmore

GIVERS were just starting their new single, “Up Up Up” when I arrived. It was love at first listen back in 2009 when I was among the first to hear and write about them, but this was love on a whole new level. Some bands are great on record and still manage to multiply their energy tenfold for their live show. The song began with an insane drum intro, then frontman Taylor Guarisco's vocals crashed in like a hurricane, rolling his eyes back and jumping around like a mad cowboy.

They started with their lead single, and things only got better from there. Tiffany Lamson, the other side of GIVERS' boy/girl vocal team, wowed the crowd with her dynamic vocals and instrumental ability, quickly jumping from drums to glockenspiel to ukulele. Halfway through the set, a couple of members from headlining band Ra Ra Riot came onstage to accompany GIVERS on violin and electric cello. Unless I missed it at the beginning, they didn't play my favourite, “Ceiling of Plankton”, which was the only downside to one of the tightest and most creative live shows I have ever seen.

This was the last show of their tour with Ra Ra Riot, but check them out at SXSW in March and Sasquatch in May! You can download their debut EP and a new promo for their upcoming debut LP at their Bandcamp page.

GIVERS - Saw You First (YSI)