Though it seemed like the rain would hinder the quality of the audience, DIIV and their openers No Joy and Sunflower Bean put on captivating performances to a happy and energetic crowd.
As the storm outside picked up, more and more people began to file into Trees while Sunflower Bean started their set. Sunflower Bean, New York natives, play what appears to be a mixture of psych-rock and post-punk. And though both genres have been fused by numerous bands in the past, Sunflower Bean bring a sound fueled by raw energy and technical proficiency that is refreshing in a scene flooded by 3-chord psych rockers. Though it seemed like there were some errors with the monitors onstage, Sunflower Bean sounded great: Nick Kivlen’s guitar created a wall of sound while his fingers seemed to move effortlessly up and down the fret board, Julia Cumming’s bass sounded raw and powerful, and Jacob Faber’s drumming was impeccable. Kivlen moved his guitar around the stage towards various amps and pedals creating noisy feedback reminiscent of early Sonic Youth. Both Kivlen and Cumming shared vocals, and their playful banter was a refreshing juxtaposition to their powerful sound. Sunflower Bean put on a cool show, and with a new album due in early 2016, you’ll surely be hearing them on the Radio UTD airwaves frequently.
The rain picked up even more, and the ceiling began to drip water all over the audience. This set the perfect scene for the show No Joy was about to put on. As it began to drizzle inside, No Joy created an effect driven wall of sound that captivated the audience. Though guitarist Laura Lloyd was noticeably frustrated with the sound on stage –her guitar did seem very low in the mix– she and the rest of the band put on an interesting and engaging show. No Joy created a fast and powerful wall of shoegazey noise, driven by bassist Michael Farksy’s thunderous basslines. And while the sound may not have been what they were going for, it was enough to keep the audience happy.
Despite delay, DIIV appeared on stage just as the buzzes and dings of flood warnings were emitted from many audience members’ phones. Right off the bat, it was obvious that this would be a memorable show. It’s not everyday that you hear a live band that sounds as good as they did on their record, and it’s even rarer to hear a live band that sounds better than they did on their record: that was DIIV. Despite technical errors earlier in the night, the audio during their set was amazing. DIIV powered through many great tracks off of their debut album Oshin, such as the hit “How Long Have You Known” and “Human”. Frontman, Zachary Cole Smith, was funny and playful with audience: introducing the band as “DIIV from New Bork” after almost every song. He was constantly apologizing just in case he was being a jerk, because he was “a little drunk”. However intoxicated he may or may not have been, it didn’t show through his playing at all. The whole band performed flawlessly. Smith moved all around the stage: sliding his guitar around his body — even behind his head, while tiptoeing around various pedals and wires. The whole band seemed to be amazed by the fact that it was raining inside and often said things like “Are we outside?” and “That sucks,” — which was pretty funny in the moment.
As the rain fell, and DIIV played some new tracks off of their upcoming album “Is This Is Are” the crowd got more and rowdy. Unlike many brutal and borderline scary mosh pits that break out at punk shows, the pit that broke out at DIIV gave off a very friendly vibe. Though DIIV play dream-pop-y, shoegaze-y, indie rock, the crowd kept finding reasons to mosh. And while it may be that kids in Dallas just love to mosh, DIIV didn’t seem to be phased by it. The most memorable moment occurred when a heckler in the audience yelled “bet you can’t play Stairway to Heaven!”. Smith smirked and muttered a “what was that?” into the mic before he and guitarist Andrew Bailey jumped into a near-perfect rendition of the Led Zeppelin classic just to prove that they could. DIIV closed the show with a pre-discussed encore: their heaviest song “Doused”. As the bassline began, the crowd went nuts and proceeded to jump and push throughout the whole thing. The track finished, DIIV put down their instruments, and the curtains closed without any other word. Overall, DIIV played a great show that not only sounded amazing, but also got the audience involved. Their new album “Is This Is Are” is slated to release later this year, and music fans are eagerly awaiting DIIV’s return.