Divine Fits @ The Fonda – 11/4/2012
Many bands nowadays produce one, maybe two, really good songs (otherwise known as the ‘singles’). But once every blue moon, there will be a band that has a whole entire catalogue of ‘singles’, where every song is a favorite. These bands are extremely rare, but with two such distinct vocalists– each track on Divine Fits’ album could solidly and confidently stand alone as a hit single.
Divine Fits is by, any reckoning one of the most dazzling new rock bands of this year. The trio unveiled their outrageously catchy wide-ranging album from a lovely and reverent comparison of Spoon-y acoustic tunes to inspired 80’s grooves and a teaser of many things—possibly, A Thing Called Divine Fits.
On Sunday night, Divine Fits wrapped up their North America tour at Hollywood’s Fonda Theater. Combining members of Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs’ Dan Boeckner, matched with the propulsive drumming of New Bomb Turks’ Sam Brown. Adding style and finesse to sounds of radiant synth is their savvy keyboardist, Alex Fieschel. This guy was memorizing to watch, jumping from keys to backing vocals to bass and guitar.
Besides their original flavor, the most admirable thing about the band is that every single member is equally as talented, making a “lead-singer distinction” nearly impossible. Divine Fits played a set comprised of their new wave-y elements and electroc-rock repetition, where Brown works wonders slamming one beat after another. Sharing vocal duties and switching off guitars, Daniel and Boeckner’s chemistry on stage was nothing short of spectacular.
Opening with “Neapolitan”, it started off the night with a slow build of darkly ringing guitars behind shivering synths and dreamy vocals led by Britt Daniel. Though it wasn’t until the second song, the Boeckner-led “Baby Got Worse” that made the crowd erupt, giving the music a 80s art rock sound with sequenced guitar and metronomic drumming.
With Daniel’s distinct raspy vocals and pulsating basslines combined with Boeckner’s darker, edgier sound, there is some sense of collaboration, but at times, it can feel like a sound splitting into two personalities. Nevertheless, the music takes on a whole new form when Boeckner and Daniel both sang “The Salton Sea” that begins with low-key synths, thrifty percussion, and low-in-the-mix vocals as the stage explodes with various light patterns and strobes.
Boeckner seems more willing to try new things as he performs “For Your Heart” sounding like a new wave single from the 1980‘s to “Civilian Stripes”, a warmer, acoustic track, with striped-down guitar and tender vocals.
For his part, Britt Daniel brought the soulful snarl and heavy grooves of Spoon with “Flaggin’ for a Ride” and “Like Ice Cream”, surging forward once again—the pace of his performance was never let go. Smiles broke as he sang, and Daniel provided a dash of energy to the group’s dynamic.
Boeckner, meanwhile, ushered in a powerful chorus of “My love is real / Until it stops”, locking into the undeniable groove ”My Love Is Real”, followed by a cover of Tom Petty’s “You Got Luck”.
”Aw shucks, thanks, you guys”, said Boeckner
Divine Fits sounded exactly, if not better, than they do recorded. However, that was somewhat expected. My biggest take away from this show? Daniel and Mr. Boeckner were so damn genuine, from their banter to their smile to their interaction with the audience and their bandmates. It was clear everyone on stage was having a good time, as Boeckner, Daniel, Brown, and Fischel could be seen jamming toward one another, visually having a blast on their last night on tour.
The pair swapped guitar and bass, where Daniel breaks into a more sensual, prowling falsetto of “Would That Not Be Nice”, with Brown’s powerhouse drumming and a huge feel of rhythm. Britt’s emphasis of certain words also, from “would” and “nice” to his wounded howl added an extra element of personality to the music that was already pitch-perfect all night.
With only one album to their name, Divine Fits played every song from their recent debut, as well as a cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Lost’. Yep, that Frank Ocean. However, Divine Fits sauntered back on stage for their encore—“We’re going to play a few more for you”—Daniel told the crowd as he and Boeckner each harmonized Rolling Stones’ “Sway”.
Still, one listen of Divine Fits’ Nick Cave’s cover “Shivers”, and I was completely smitten with Daniel’s dark, chilling sound as he sang, “The sound of her name sends a permanent shiver down my spine,” his vocals were dead on, in perfect unison and completely in tune.
I tell ya, top-notch indie rock pedigree or not, A Thing Called Divine Fits, marks the arrival of a group that is, well, super.