Review – Django Django – National Museum Of Scotland, 18/5/12

You hope it’s going to be a good gig when there’s face painting involved.

The National Museum of Scotland’s ‘Museum Lates’ night returned with a healthy line-up of Scottish talent, a slightly peculiar Alice In Wonderland theme and a strangely eclectic audience mix.

Intended as more than your standard gig, an array of bars and activities were dotted around the iconic building as well as the afore mentioned face painting. The organisers had even brought in a silent disco.

The crowd was far from your average Friday night’s. Models posed dressed as characters from Wonderland, the Edinburgh glitterati strutted around like peacocks and some more traditional museum goers, perhaps unaware of what they had signed up for, looked bemused (I swear I saw one man unironically wearing 1970-style cords).

This was the scene that faced eagerly tipped Edinburgh electronica rascals Discopolis as they took to the cramped temporary stage. The band’s music – a mixture of sometime dreamy, sometime muscular hooks – sadly got mainly lost in the venue. The lack of a crush barrier made for some serious crowd trepidation, with no-one (other than a few over willing individuals ) prepared to get too close to the stage. The 3-piece were by and large unable to broach this division, unhelped by an underwhelming sound system.

This was not the case for headliners Django Django. In fact by the time Edinburgh Art School alumni took to the stage it appeared that the part-time gig goers had retreated as a far more raucous atmosphere ensued.

Kicking off with the best love song to a comet you’re ever likely to hear, ‘Hail Bop’s striking synths and synchronized vocals got some serious feet moving. The song’s ascent towards a heavenly chorus mirrors the bands own rise in 2012, gaining deserved recognition for their beautiful debut album which made them the darlings of the critics.

Without a pause for breath, the quartet fire out the rollicking ‘Wor’ with it’s rapid guitar lines and 21st century funk. A much more muscular (and satisfying) version of ‘Waveforms’ than appears on said debut comes later, highlighting the bands very unique sound as singer Vincent Neff’s manipulated harmonies are laid over some tribal-esque drum beats.

Big hitter ‘Default’ comes earlier than expected, plunging the crowd into the frenzy of the night. It’s hard to think up fresh superlatives to describe this song with it’s mariachi-esque guitar lines having echoed into every Indie disco around the country. Eleven more of these and they’d be headlining Glastonbury.

Even in Wonderland things have to come to an end, with the band throwing out finale ‘Storm’ to be devoured by the audience. Psychedelic without losing its rock drive, it soars as high as the museum’s rounded ceiling before crashing down to a triumphant end.

Off to headline Glasgow’s Stag & Dagger festival the next night, this is as intimate a gig as you’re likely to see Django Django perform anytime soon. Their success here and throughout the year proves there is still room for individuality and spontaneity in modern music. They might have been playing in a building celebrating the past but they are definitely a band of the future.

Mark McKinlay

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