Divine Fits at Varsity Theater, 4/4/13
|Photo By Tony Nelson|
With Split Single
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
April 4, 2013
As soon as word got out that Divine Fits affectionately name-checked Minneapolis in one of their initial singles, "Would That Not Be Nice," there has been a buildup to the moment when Britt Daniel would sing that wistful line live to a local crowd. Unfortunately, the supergroup of sorts -- comprised of Daniel (Spoon), Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs), Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks), and Alex Fischel -- kept us holding on as they extensively toured the rest of the country, but held off on a Twin Cities visit for many long months since July's release of A Thing Called Divine Fits.
But all of that was rectified and then some last night as Divine Fits brought their spirited, lovelorn live show to a sold-out Varsity Theater. The exuberant 70-minute set featured a run-through of all the tracks from their excellent debut, a brand new song, and some choice covers. It was nice -- just like Britt had promised us.
As Fischel settled in behind the keyboards, an indoor snowfall playfully mocked Minnesota music fans who are over-ready for spring. Daniel, Boeckner, and Brown eventually joined him, adding in their ethereal sonic textures to the moody, slow-burning opener "Neopolitans." The fuse was officially lit during the explosive end to "Baby Get Worse," with Britt, who started off playing bass and frequently switched between that and guitar throughout the set, taking over on lead vocals as Dan flailed away on guitar. Both guys eventually turned their backs to the crowd and locked in with Brown, bringing the song to a fitful, discordant finish.
Daniel led the classic rock-ish ode to dessert and love, "Like Ice Cream," which found Fischel on guitar for the bristling first half of the song before heading back behind the keys. Britt then addressed the crowd after a warm ovation. "A friend of mine was on tour in Minneapolis, while I was stuck writing in L.A. I was feeling the pressure, and I thought to myself, 'I would love to be in Minneapolis right now. Would that not be nice?'" And with that, the band launched into the song that had to have helped the show sell out so quick. Daniel even psyched himself and the crowd up as the memorable line approached, saying "alright" in the build-up while encouraging us all to sing along. And indeed, we all joined in full voice with Britt as he sang, "I wish that I was in Minneapolis." The set took off from there.
|Photos By Tony Nelson|
Dan took off his sport coat before leading the synth-driven "My Love Is Real." He revealed his traditional cut-off black tank-top that he typically wore at Handsome Furs shows. That seemed to free him up to fully launch deep into the dark, brooding number, which had him and the rest of the band smiling as they soaked in the crowd's boisterous response. "I fucking love playing here in Minneapolis," Boeckner genuinely exclaimed. "I can't believe it has taken us so long to play here. It's so nice that you all showed up." A Springsteen-esque version of "Civilian Stripes" quickly followed, as the perfectly-paced set churned on breathlessly.
But the real surprises were just about to start. It was a bit hard to place the funky, textured beat of the next number at first, but as soon as the band locked into the groove and Britt started to sing, it was clear the band were covering Frank Ocean's, "Lost." It was an indelible moment, one that made clear how talented the individual members of Divine Fits are as they fluidly made the song their own, and also gave proof how phenomenally catchy Ocean's "Lost" truly is. The band then busted out a brand new song they have been working on as of late called "Chained." It's a mercurial, Dan-lead number that fits perfectly alongside their previous work, and hopefully signifies that the band has plans to record together again.