Review: Divine Fits deliver at tour finale
Just before heading into Hollywood’s Fonda Theatre Sunday evening for a particularly rousing opening set from Cold Cave – more powerful than before, with a full backing band supplementing frontman Wesley Eisold’s already gripping, emotionally charged vocals – I overheard a brief exchange between the box office attendant and Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner, also vocalist and core member of this gig’s headlining act, Divine Fits.
“Sh*t got a little crazy on this tour,” he said. “Some good … some bad.”
As an avid appreciator of the outfit’s studio debut from August, A Thing Called Divine Fits, I sincerely hope that cryptic admittance doesn’t signal a swift end to this outstanding new supergroup, also featuring vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Britt Daniel of Spoon, drummer Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks and keyboardist Alex Fischel.
The 11-track album features strong shades of both Daniel’s and Boeckner’s principal projects (though Wolf Parade is on indefinite hiatus) albeit with an audibly ’80s, synth-heavy vibe. From start to finish, the musicians maintain a distinct air of nervous energy (think David Byrne and Ian Curtis) so prominent in their past works.
Despite the possible pitfall presented by that pre-show chat, the short-but-sweet set Sunday evening certainly gave the impression that whatever transpired over the past couple months was predominantly positive in nature. The performance felt like a jam with old friends, full of genuine smiles, intense crescendos and occasional classic-rock and contemporary covers, all of which gave this final tour stop a loose yet highly professional edge.
The set’s first three tracks – “Neopolitans,” “Baby Get Worse” and “The Salton Sea” – illustrated that evident level of comfort and camaraderie. Ruled by Daniel’s ghostly drone, Boeckner’s highly technical guitar flourishes and the edgy repetition of Fischel’s and Brown’s synth-and-drum interchanges, those songs showed the group’s tendency to get weird, although not in a wandering, aloof way.