As far as double bills go, you couldn't really ask for one more interconnected than Wild Nothing and DIIV. Both bands are signed to Brooklyn's Captured Tracks and both have new critically adored albums gleaming with iridescent indie pop. And yet their performances at Toronto's Great Hall could not have been any more different.
DIIV | Photo: Steve Louie
DIIV seemed eager to kick things off, jumping right into "(Druun)," the instrumental opener from their debut album, Oshin. What should have been a jangling two minutes of dream pop quickly fell victim to crackly sound problems that continued through a muffled "Past Lives." But the four-piece persevered and played the majority of their album at a much wilder pace.
They tore through singles "Human" and "Sometime" with cool abandon, which may have strayed a bit from the studio versions, but nevertheless boosted the entertainment quotient. Dropping their obscure Nirvana demo "Bambi Slaughter" (the B-side to "Geist," which they also played) made sense considering the origin of the band's name, but the highlight came from tacking on a welcome extended jam to the chugging "Doused."
DIIV were a tough act to follow, but Wild Nothing arrived with a completely different disposition. As the headliner, Jack Tatum and company had the advantage with better lighting, an effectively hazy cloud of dry ice and a superior ear working the soundboard.
Beginning with mostly older material, Wild Nothing sounded like a completely different band from the one that struggled two years ago playing Toronto's Wrongbar. Gemini's "Confirmation" and "Chinatown," still their best tune to date, were executed flawlessly, which made you marvel at just how far they've come along. Tatum, especially. His register is tighter, hitting the sprawling range on the title track to his new album, Nocturne, as well as the higher pitched "Shadow."
Unfortunately, Tatum and his four bandmates failed to achieve any kind of chemistry with the crowd. More shyness than detachment, Wild Nothing were gracious performers simply unable to visually stimulate onlookers. It's the problem countless bands have, particularly in the subgenre they fall in, and they really suffer.
Though there is a slight difference in their dynamics, Wild Nothing could learn a thing or two from their tourmates about letting loose and putting on a show. If and when they do, though, they'll be the complete package.
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