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Django Django is djust getting started

By Mike Frash //

Django Django //
The Independent – San Francisco
September 25th, 2012 //

Django Django’s afternoon flight to SF from Los Angeles was canceled Tuesday, and they were forced to cancel their Amoeba SF appearance, but made it in time for their headlining show at The Independent.

Lead singer/guitarist Vincent Neff made clear this was the band’s first trip to SF, and to the US, and he was super grateful and bright-eyed all night. He could not stop comparing SF favorably to LA. During “Skies Over Cairo”, Neff free rhymed shit-talk about LA and for the third time of the night, spoke favorably about SF. It’s a classic gimmick — he was probably talkin’ smack about Phoenix last night.

But Django Django is no gimmick. Their tone and style rides a robotic, digital line yet is still perfectly human and relatable. Their use of repetition, from their name to their vocal riffs, is far from annoying. They exude whiffs of Devo and Talking heads, but it all feels incredibly contemporary. At one point, Neff was playing coconut shells straight out of Monty Python, while drummer/producer David Maclean streamlined cowbell. But to contrast that very organic and odd groove, synth operator Tommy Grace intruded the jam with lazer beam sounds that ultimately joined the beat.

They are already masters at setting and controlling the tone of the show. Early on, Neff warned the audience a slow Willie Nelson song was coming. It was Django Django’s slower song “Hand of Man”, but the expectations they set convinced everyone to clap along. The venue was pretty close to capacity, and every person in the house wanted to be there.

Django Django is led by Neff, but their success is a sum of their parts. Their two biggest songs, “Default” and “Hail Bob”, are driving tracks that thrive on repetition. They are timeless and clean on the record, but they didn’t perform their biggest songs slickly live. They did extend these tracks into trance-y dance jams, and that was rewarding enough.

The British foursome clearly has a penchant for seeking innovative sounds and not sticking to the norm. To start one song, Neff said, “Are you ready to go somewhere?” He wasn’t saying, “Do you want to leave?” He was saying, “Let us take you somewhere. Let us help you lose yourself.” Their sound is refreshingly psychedelic and familiar, a dichotomy that works remarkably well live.

Before ending the set, Neff said, “We only have one more song.” The crowd booed and was ready for more. He continued, “We only have one album! We hope this won’t be our last American tour … We’ll come back again.” They did come back for an upbeat and satisfying encore. Django Django will continue to gain steam as they tour on their self-titled album, and their best album is most likely still ahead of them.

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