Sunday, 3 April 2016

DIIV - Leeds Belgrave Music Hall, March 22nd 2016


"...Halfway through the set Cole simply stops playing mid-song as he clutches his head turning away from the crowd. A few awkward moments later he turns back wiping away his tears. ‘This is so embarrassing,” he tells the crowd. From this point on and for the rest of the set he barely faces the crowd again..."


Seeing Diiv live was met with a certain level of intrigue as I wondered through the doors of The Belgrave Music Hall to an already packed out room. This is a band that never seem too far away from controversy. With Zachary Cole’s heavily publicized drug problems, Devin Ruben Perez dubious on-line comments and Colby Hewitt dismissal having all hit the alternative press headlines.

Before Diiv’s set I managed to catch main support Ulrika Spacek. Songs from their new record on Tough Love have been getting a few plays on BBC6Music of late, raising their profile enough to draw the crowds in early. Their garagey, psychedelic sound is loud and their confident presence even turns the heads of those only half watching to grab their full attention.

Ulrika Spacek
The controversy that preludes Diiv doesn’t take long to come into effect this evening. As the band set up, their seems to be technical issues as Cole repeatedly tells their sound technician he can’t hear anything in his monitors. The band leave the stage and the crew try to work out what’s going wrong. After ten minutes or so the lights go down, Diiv walk back on stage and are ready to go, the crowd cheers, yet Cole still isn’t happy and once again orders the band off stage. The crowd starts to get restless and after more fiddling around guitarist Andrew Bailey enters the stage to check the monitors before giving the thumbs up to which everyone else joins him. Cole’s still not happy, but by this point it’s too late, the band need to do something and as Bailey rips into (Druun Pt. II) Cole’s face bears the expression of total dissatisfaction with the situation. “This venue is fucking amateur hour!” he exclaims.

Diiv
As the band rattle through Is The Is Are and Human, Cole desperately clutches his ears to try and hear something, anything, but this seems to be to no avail. Cole repeatedly apologies for the sound while the crowd of young enthusiastic kids try and tell him it’s ok and to carry on. These words of encouragement seem to be falling on deaf ears. Cole cuts the figure of someone totally deflated by the situation while drummer Ben Newman is keeping the tempo to a blistering pace, making songs like Follow almost unrecognizable. It’s almost like he’s thinking ‘the faster I can drum these songs the sooner we can get this over with.’

Diiv
Halfway through the set Cole simply stops playing mid-song as he clutches his head turning away from the crowd. A few awkward moments later he turns back wiping away his tears. ‘This is so embarrassing,” he tells the crowd. From this point on and for the rest of the set he barely faces the crowd again, only to further complain and apologize. While the rest of the band try to remain enthusiastic Cole’s self-deprecating attitude turns from one gaining some initial pity to one growing old. People groan, as the apologies get tiresome. “Just shut up and play!” one person behind me shouts. Others echo the sentiment around me. The set ends with Doused a classic Diiv ‘hit’ which induces kids stage diving and some revitalized enthusiasm from those at the front. Then it’s over. 

As I join friends downstairs we discuss the events and all feel like the band played as tight as they could under the circumstances, though the front of house sound wasn’t great. The real shame was that the whole gig was overshadowed by the unfortunate events and Cole’s insistence in complaining rather than simply powering through like a pro, or like an adult at the very least. Five days later the rest of Diiv’s European tour is cancelled ‘due to urgent health issue’…. the controversy continues...

Words & photo's - Robin Chamberlain

*As part of this review we tried to get a statement from Diiv to hear their account of the gig and what went wrong. As of the date of this article, we have heard nothing back.

Diiv official
Belgrave Music Hall official