The very individual and quirky presence of Darwin Smith and his New York band Darwin Deez arrived in dance formation at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire and delivered a set of Zappaesque tunes.
The gig began with the new cult hit YCBMG – You Can’t Be My Girl, which goes down well with the teenager to arty 30 somethings that make up the crowd. The delivery of the well thought-out line ‘I love you are horrible’ is met by showers of glow sticks thrown from the dance floor. What comes across immediately is that the band are great live and tunes that seemed a little monotone on the albums are full of zip and bounce.
Lots of back lighting meant that I had to push the ISO more than I wanted and joy of joys by the third song “DNA” was covered with a photographers fav… red-light.
Between songs Darwin talked to the crowd – a lot, introducing each song usually with a bottle of bear in his hand. Milking the fact that he was playing the Shepherds Bush Empire as he, a New Yorker, imitates an English accent.
His guitar playing is hypnotic with short jerky solos reminiscent of Frank Zappa and David Byrne. The kids at the front love him and he is an identifiable character for those who grew up with Napoleon Dynamite and Wimpy Kid.