Django Django formed in Edinburgh in 2009 after meeting at Art College. We caught them at Brighton’s Pavilion Theatre, the huge queue outside a fair indication of how the band’s following has built up over the last couple of years although undoubtedly the crowd is swelled further by the fact that they have been on Jools Holland’s TV show the night before.
On their eponymous album, released earlier this year, there are definite whiffs of the shambolic charm of the Beta Band but live I am surprised to find they have a pristine sound and incisiveness which adds an epic quality that I wasn’t expecting. There is actually a Beta Band connection though as it turns out as drummer David Maclean’s big brother was a member of the much missed outfit.
Like the Beta Band Django Django understand how to mix their musical influences together in intoxicating ways: The keys cut through the mix aggressively, threatening to turn the gig into a nineties style rave, the vocals float above the rest of the music with spacious psychedelic harmonies and the cowbell clanks as if your head is in a metal waste paper bin and Mr T is on the outside hitting the bin with a gold drumstick. At one point the keyboards cut out, just as Grimes’ sequencers will do the following night but nothing can stop the Django feel good funnel for long and the ivories kick back in after a couple of minutes, albeit in mono.
From where we were standing, which was admittedly fairly near the back, the pleasingly surreal impression I got of the band visually was that the group was made up of New Order’s Bernard Sumner on vocals, Jimmy Carr, the unnaturally huge headed joke jockey, on guitar and playwright Dennis Potter on keys. On later reflection having seen their video appearance on BBC iplayer I realise this impression was possibly, arguably, slightly wide of the mark. Either way Django Django are one of the best bands to emerge in the UK in a long time and live manage to be charming, exciting and original all in one accessible, love-able package and there just aren’t too many new bands around just now that you can say that about.