DOLA’s Birthday Bash At The Echoplex With Sextile And DIIV, Friday August 31st 2018
There was a huge line around the Echoplex block on Friday night, DOLA, the website all Los Angelinos turn to when they want to do something fun, was celebrating its birthday at the local club and had launched a party with free pizza, free beer and a concert featuring Sextile and DIIV! The best part of it: it was free with reservation, and this more than 4,000 people made an RSVP, while obviously, barely 500 got in.
Sextile opened the late show around 10:30 pm, and if I have seen them a few times before, they always put up an intense set, filled with their harsh noise-oriented industrial dancefloors. They have had a few lineup changes since the beginning but their sound basically doesn’t change, driven by an obsessive beat coming from Melissa the drummer standing up the whole time, and Brady who spits his anger with a restless aggression over cold synth. They raised their usual chaos while blending the past and the future, mixing influences from darkwave, post-punk, and even pure 70s punk with a futuristic psychedelic electronica.
The popular New York band entered on stage with a ‘Fuck New York’ and an affirmation of their love for their new hometown Los Angeles. I don’t know what happened to DIIV in NYC, but the people inside the Echoplex were surely delighted to hear this and the band got a lot of cheering, before starting their set with the title track of their last album ‘Is the Is Are’.
The tempo of many of their song is jumpy, the lyrics close to inaudible, and the tone is generally melancholic, combining a dreamy state with psychedelic layers and enough repetition to hypnotize you after a few minutes. Say like this, the band’s music could sound boring and impersonal, but DIIV has amassed a large fan base and has still created enough diversity in their songs to keep you interested.
Besides songs of their two albums, they premiered many new tunes, and Zachary Cole Smith asked us not to film them because they would surely ‘fucked them up’. They actually didn’t and, as expected, these new songs sounded very DIIV, still guitar-driven with plenty of psychedelic pedals, habited by a melancholia coming from Smith’s fragile vocals buried in reverb, while the music seemed to be making the connection between Tame Impala and ‘90s bands of the Pacific Northwest, ‘Tell me how you like it?’ he asked us
‘Let’s recapture the attention of the people’, he added before their jumpy and light-headed ‘Under the Sun’, but they actually treated us with plenty of new tunes, two times during their set, getting more passionate and even poignant… ‘Did you like it? asked Zachary again, looking for another validation from the crowd. The rest of the band was moving along the music while Zachary Cole Smith was standing most of the time behind his mic, at one side of the stage, wearing a puffy feminine short haircut and a pair of glasses that made him look like the Harry Potter of indie rock. Gone was the bleached blonde long hair and his false Cobain look! Last year, he declared to be sober in many interviews and tried to explain in his last album that getting sober and staying sober is hard and painful. However, despite his signature baggy clothes, he certainly looked like a new man and didn’t look like a guy who could be arrested for drug possession.
But chase nature and it comes back galloping, one new song in particular (they didn’t tell us their titles) had a very melancholic and morose tone with throbbing guitars, and undoubtedly put Nirvana in my mind, while the rest was effortlessly blending dream pop with post-punk, a very trendy sound these days, that DIIV has perfected to its most hypnotic state. And the most surprising of all this? The violent mosh pit that erupted behind my back! Despite the close-to-lifeless vocals, the repetitiveness of the guitar patterns and the overall monotony of some songs which were never expressing something close to aggression or violence, people were pushing, moshing and stage-diving with a happy rage and a rare pleasure.
‘You guys remember 2012?’ Zachary Cole asked us before a shaky balloon party during ‘Doused’… …. And after a firework of balloons bursting above our heads, ‘sounds like making popcorn’ said someone in the band, they came back for an encore with ‘Wait’
By playing the birthday bash for DOLA, the website to find out about every event in Los Angeles, the Brooklyn band has definitively made its move to Los Angeles, and melancholia had never sounded so fun.