Digital, Brighton, Friday 22 October 2010
"I've been working on who I am for 15 years; maybe I need another 15 before the next record."
And with that, Darwin Deez kept the audience guessing at Digital on Friday night, delighting the packed venue with, as his MySpace page suggests, "indie rock with a side of calisthenics".
Support band Naive New Beaters did a stellar job of gearing up the audience, no doubt helped by the appearance of Darwin Smith himself in their closing song, complete with indoor sparkler.
When Darwin and his band hit the stage proper, they gave a performance of pure energy and never let up; highlights included the soaring 'Up in the Clouds', 'Constellations', and the band's biggest hit to date 'Radar Detector', which had the audience roaring along in unison.
In light of some criticism that the last UK tour was a little light in content, the band excelled here with a tight rhythm section, a creative, dynamic lead guitarist in the shape of Zach Cole Smythe, and Darwin Smith's mesmeric melodies and complex chord patterns.
Bassist Andrew Hoepfner said that he was thrilled with the set, suggesting that it "...might have been the best set since I rejoined the band in August".
Smith said that he can cope with the rigours of playing, dancing and partying while touring because: "I have a high metabolism so I bounce back easily", and it certainly showed in the fantastic dance-offs in between songs; if you've ever wanted to see a four-man dance routine to a medley of Orinoco Flow and Rage Against the Machine, then this was the gig for you. Naive New Beaters also got in on the dancing fun, giving the gig an intimate feel.
When asked about the diverse nature of the show, Smith told us that: "I get bored easily and need to be creative", leading to him experimenting onstage. For example, Beyonce's 'Single Ladies' was mixing into 'Walk Like An Egyptian' before the band segued into the penultimate number 'The Coma Song', leaving the audience dazzled by Deez's variations.
There was even space for an impressive rap from guitarist Smythe, who explained that: "I only started rapping with Darwin two days ago, so it was fun for me".
The dynamic nature of the performance perhaps raised more questions than answers as to Smith's future, but whatever Darwin wants to do next, this show confirmed that he's confidently a few rhythmic steps ahead of the current indie clatter.
Darwin heads back to Brighton in March at Concorde 2, and it'd be a Deez-aster to miss him.