The Hoxton, Toronto ON, October 11, 2015

Photo: Shane Parent

BY Cam LindsayPublished Oct 12, 2015

DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith had a running joke throughout their second Toronto show in two months, and it purely consisted of repeating, "We're called DIIV" before virtually every song. The introductions proved to be the bulk of his interaction with the crowd. But during the band's 75-minute set, the joke never lost its steam, as he altered it to "We're called DIV," to mock the constant mispronunciation of the band's name, as well as, "We're Ride from England," a comical reminder that last month they supported the shoegaze legends for a trio of shows.

Originally scheduled for the 1500-capacity Danforth Music Hall, the gig was switched to the Hoxton, which may be one-fifth the size, but offered a far more intimate experience than the original venue. Touring before the release of their long-awaited second album, Is the Is Are, DIIV gave the 300-strong crowd an appreciated preview, mixed in with cuts from their 2012 debut, Oshin, along with projections across three walls of varying footage that included plenty of Smith's girlfriend, Sky Ferreira, Just For Men packaging, backstage activity, a Beach Fossils performance and the consumption of some lentils.

Now a beefier five-piece, DIIV had near-immaculate sound working in their favour, lifting tracks like "Human" and "How Long Have You Known?" to clearer levels than past performances in the city. New single "Dopamine" rang out and ignited the crowd, as did unreleased track "Loose Ends," which should it make the album cut, will offer it a strong anthem. And while he described it as "slow boring shit," another new track, "Waste of Breath," demonstrated that we could be in for a few surprises with Is the Is Are.

On three occasions, Smith teased that "we have two more songs," before finally meaning it and ending on a roused version of "Dust," which inspired a rather wild mosh pit. They seemed more surprised than the crowd to play an encore, but Smith couldn't resist. "You guys are fucking awesome. What should we play?" Opting for Oshin's "Follow" and "Wait," they ended the set on a burst of energy that provoked even more moshing until it came to a crashing halt.

DIIV may not have been able to pull off the bigger venue before Is the Is Are's release, but with all the hype surrounding it and a retooled and improved live show, don't be surprised if they're selling it out a year from now.

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