DIANA Drake Underground, Toronto ON, May 8

DIANA Drake Underground, Toronto ON, May 8
Photo: Shane Parent
Toronto scene stalwarts DIANA played their first of two Canadian Music Week shows last night that find the band deconstructing and reimagining their own music. This one featured slowed down, drawn out and improvised versions of their songs, while tonight (May 9) the band plans to rearrange their catalogue into a house music set. While this first show produced mixed results, it's admirable for performers to take risks like these in public, and most missteps were countered by the captivating energy of live creation.

As artists who feel equally comfortable playing jazz as they do electro-tinged pop, DIANA's improvisations veered more toward ambient jams with atmospheric vamps in the background. On their opener, "Perpetual Surrender," one of the standout tracks on record, the band stretched the song to nearly ten minutes and brought out its familiar hook like a meditational chant. The whole night was accompanied by visuals of hands playing with food products, from ramen noodle packages to (on the more grotesque side) hamburger meat. It was oddly fitting, and, like the show as a whole, it worked.

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