When musicians from well-known musical acts get together to form new musical acts, something that always seems to follow the groups through interviews, bios, and whatever else people write about bands (fanfic), (love letters), is a narrative that attempts to sell the band as “legitimate.” I mean this as opposed to the idea that the album the band has released is a one-off deal, done to have an outlet and a bit of (already very successful) fun before going back to work on whatever their “real” thing is. I guess this is because it could be harder to get people on board with the idea of something fleeting and impermanent. It’s also maybe because when you’re in this situation — creating music with a group of successful friends — it does feel like it will last. Like when you get back together with an ex for the third time and you’re like, “No, really, you guys don’t understand — we’re good now.” And your friends are like, “That’s what every supergroup says and then they put out AT MOST two albums and then it’s like the band never even existed.” This is always a little frustrating to see, mostly because it can take steam away from the perfectly-good-on-its-own idea that what you have is a group of
super handsome super GOOD professional musicians making some super great music together, for whatever amount of time seems OK. Who even cares what the intention for the future is? Relax! Everyone relax and let’s all take things (things=situations with bands that probably you aren’t even stressed about at all?) (this might just be entirely my own deal) as they come. This is all to say that Divine Fits, the new project from Britt Daniel, Dan Boeckner, and Sam Brown, played their first New York show at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg last night and it was VERY VERY GOOD!
Sean Bones, Brooklyn indie/reggae artist, opened the show and was also great. I’m not sure if Sean Bones sells himself as indie/reggae and I would not be surprised if he didn’t, because “indie/reggae” sounds kind of terrible. To be honest, and not to fault him at all, I can’t think of a way to describe Sean Bones’ music that isn’t immediately off-putting. Laid-back indie dance beach? Catchy harmony rock groove sand breeze? I DON’T KNOW! He is great, though, and one of my favorite acts in the area. I see him whenever I can because he is always the best, and you should see him too if you can because he will be the best. Most of what he played was from his newer album Buzzards Boy, though he did play two or so rockers from his first album, Rings, as well — like “Dancehall” and “Easy Street.” He and his band of three other people, two of whom I’ve seen pay with him before, one of whom I have not (a bass player who also sang harmonies) (I wanted to get her name but he did not say it) (I’M SORRY!), were good. I love him. See him when you can see him.
THEN DIVINE FITS PLAYED! Man alive. I’ll tell you what, one thing that does not hurt Divine Fits is having, as its frontmen, the two most relentlessly cool frontmen in indie rock at the moment. Those guys, man. I’m not sure if I have to disclose this as a journalist or what, but I think — and have thought for just about the past 10 years — that Britt Daniel is just the coolest guy on Earth and I will marry him the second he asks. I don’t know what has taken him so long, but I am still here, impatiently waiting. THE ANSWER IS YES, BRITT!
They opened the show with “Flaggin’ A Ride,” and continued through playing every song on A Thing Called Divine Fits (as you would assume), also including the Tom Petty cover, “You Got Lucky,” that they’ve been seen playing elsewhere, and a cover of the Wipers “Doom Town.” One thing that was striking about the set, in general, is how songs that tended to sound more like one songwriter or the other on the album (or like one songwriter with bits clearly contributed from the other, like the Spoon-y fuzzy guitar and short keyboard riff on the Boeckner-fronted “What Gets You Alone”) felt genuinely more like a fun, easy combination of the two. There may have even been some of us in attendance who were more looking forward to the Britt Daniel-fronted songs, because maybe Spoon is their favorite band, and maybe they even said, “I like the ones that sound like Spoon” after their first listen to the album, because these people might often make quick decisions about bands that don’t turn out to reflect their true feelings in the long run, who, after seeing Dan Boeckner flailing around and having a great time throughout the songs he fronted, came around to the entirety of the band and just loved the whole thing so much. Ahhh! It was so much fun! What a treat to be able to watch a bunch of people who are so good at the thing they do, being so good at the thing they do together, and having such a great time doing it. My favorite part happened during the final song before their encore (the encore being the Nick Cave song “Shivers”), “For Your Heart,” when, after the song began, Britt got down and messed with Boeckner’s pedals for a minute or so. That was my favorite part. It was fun and silly and just wicked cool and carefree, and those are all of the words I’d use to describe Divine Fits. Also these words: “So good, white T-shirt, marry me, cool dudes, cool band, fun, rock-y-rock.” Basically the words EVERYONE is using to describe them when they get to this part in their show review. After the band finished playing “Would That Not Be Nice,” the fifth song in their set, a girl in the crowd yelled, “YOU GUYS ARE ON FIRE!” multiple times, in attempt to get someone on stage to acknowledge that, yes, they were on fire. And they were! She was right. Very astute.
After the show got out, the line for the guy’s bathroom was much longer than the line for the girl’s bathroom. “You never see this,” said so many people. “I gotta get a picture of this,” said one woman. It was possibly a bigger attraction than the entire show had been just minutes before. I don’t know how well that picture the lady wanted to take would have read, but I do wish her all the best.
[Photos by Jessica Amaya]