At the risk of sounding like a little old lady in one of those see thru pink plastic macs (as opposed to just looking like one that is), what the chuff’s up with the weather again? A joke’s a joke and all that but unless we get some sun over here soon we’re all going to go down with a serious case of the rickets. Jeez. Anyway, despite the almost continuous drizzle ‘n’ gloom (hmmm...great name for a band there) there was a decent crowd in tonight in time for opening act NZCA/Lines (hmmm...possibly not such a great name for a band). How the hell are you supposed to pronounce this one? EnZedSeeEhSlashLines? NeZeeSeeAhforwardslashlines? Nzedseeyaslahelines? Whilst it don’t exactly slip off the tongue the band’s (normally one guy, Michael Lovett, but bolstered by a funky bassist and stand up drummer tonight) music’s a pleasingly easy listen, with echoes of prime pop era Scritti Politti in the mix.
One of the few joys about living in 2012 is the vast wealth of music that’s just sitting there waiting for us to gobble it all up. Within seconds we can all access everything from Mongolian throat singing through to experimental death jazz. FOR FREE. Unsurprisingly therefore there are bands out there who’ve presumably been munching away at all this free music since birth, creating some truly genre-less groups. Django Django seem to be one such band. There’s the twangy spaghetti western of WOR, the trippy harmony heavy Waveforms, the Egyptian prog (yes, really) of Skies Over Cairo and the Beta Band meets 60’s beat bands of Default. They’ve yet to perfect the throat singing but hey, it’s early days eh?
There was a decent crowd in tonight for the band’s first Birmingham gig and they got a better than average reception too, possibly bolstered by the hip factor currently buzzing around ‘em. Speaking of buzzing...well chirruping in this case...the gig kicked off with the sound of crickets. This somewhat unusual beginning heralds (yes, heralds, I’ve been listening to Radio 4 again) the start of the mainly instrumental track Introduction. I’m assuming the crickets are all pre recorded and not part of the band. How cool would that be though eh? You could give them all little microphones and miniature bottles of water and a tiny little towel. On second thoughts they’d probably overdo it on the free booze and end up copping off with a cockroach, crickets are notorious for it. I saw one glass a ladybird once...terrible business. Anyway, Introduction is a curious track. It sounds like someone’s dropped the Human League Mk1 in a jungle and if that sounds like an oddly appealing proposition to you then the rest of the set would be right up your street. There’s a bit of everything in there and, whilst the biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the big singles, Storm and Default, pretty much every track had something for everyone. Given the mercurial nature of the music the band’s performance was spot on too with everyone bar the drummer sweatily swapping instruments. There are one or two quirky ones in there as well, including the world’s biggest tambourine (well, almost), some coconut shells and a twangy thing...no idea what it’s really called but ‘twangy thing’ (you bash it and it makes a twangy sound) seems an accurate enough description. If you’re looking for reference points the Beta Band have to be a major influence on the Djangs (I believe that one of the band’s big bros was actually in the Betas) but, to be honest you could pick out anyone from Link Wray to Kraftwerk and no one could disagree. Proof perhaps that pop has finally well and truly eaten itself?