Live Review: Django Django, The Cast Of Cheers

3 August 2012 | 9:26 am | Chris Familton

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Fresh from a weekend of Splendour, both of tonight's bands were in town to play sideshows and build on the justified hype surrounding their debut albums. The Cast of Cheers were in support, yet they showed no signs of their being there just to warm up the sold-out audience. From the get-go they played fast, enthusiastically and with an endearing sense of humour. The Irish quartet showed an impressive synchronicity that maintained a wire-taut edge to their sound that owes a debt to Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand and, in their rock moments, Them Crooked Vultures. Loop pedals on Pose Mit and other songs allowed them to break free from the constraints of only playing what their hands allowed, and some judicious use of synths added an electronic touch to many of their tracks. Human Elevator was a fantastic dark-glam workout while Family drew the biggest cheer from a crowd that seemed completely won over by The Cast of Cheers.

Django Django appeared on stage in coordinated T-shirts and set about building on the vibe created by their supports. Theirs is a less 'in your face' sound, but it delivered a fascinating mix of styles from the Egyptian rhythms of Skies Over Cairo to the playful electronic krautrock repetition of Zumm Zumm and the slashing surf guitar chords of WOR. What seemed to bind all these disparate sounds together was their way with beats and percussion. Even when the music was spiralling off into rockabilly territory, it was still irresistibly danceable, and indeed most of the venue was bouncing, nodding and dancing along. Their biggest track was undoubtedly Default, with its seductive robotic swagger. Live, the band are a versatile bunch, switching instruments, ganging up on drums and oversized tambourines all the while with grins across their faces. The crowd matched their enthusiasm with rapturous applause and even a spot of crowd-surfing. We were repeatedly told how blown away Django Django were to have sold out their first of two nights at the Oxford, and for once it felt like genuine surprise and appreciation from the musicians on stage.

So, two bands leading the charge for new polymorphic guitar music in the 21st Century, and damn fine performances they were too. There is life left in this rock'n'roll dog yet.