Darwin Deez – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds, 10/10/2018

Darwin Deez – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds, 10/10/2018

Darwin Deez is mightily impressed by the Belgrave Music Hall and Kitchen. It is sick, he tells us. “Pizza, burgers, chips and beer” drools the man from New York, highlighting just a few of the more modern attractions of this large, three-storey former recreation hall and nursery school. To this list he could just as easily have added singing, dancing and playing some good old fashioned rock’n’roll music for Deez and his band – Sebastian on guitar, bass guitarist Caitlin Frame and drummer Tim McCoy – having just landed here on the penultimate date of their current tour of the UK and Ireland proceed to serve up some suitably lavish entertainment tonight in what is really rather glorious abundance.

Just like most other dates on this tour before it, the Belgrave tonight is absolutely rammed. It is a seething joyful mass of mostly youthful humanity who just like Darwin Deez himself are fully intent on having themselves a real good time. The crowd help create a right royal party atmosphere and it is one upon which Deez and his band positively thrive. The four musicians bound on stage to the strains of ‘Fuck It Up’ but for the ensuing 80 minutes they combine to do anything but that. Their carefully choreographed dance shtick – one of several similar routines throughout the night – runs seamlessly into a powerful blast of ‘The City’. And with that we have lift off.

“Give it a good bash”. Not only is this a figurative call-to-arms from Darwin Deez but it is also the name given to the current tour, one that has been scheduleded on the back of his recently released fourth studio album, the intriguingly entitled 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart. An acute sense of melancholy may well lie at the record’s heart, but it does come all wrapped up in Deez’s spirited, almost child-like vision of the world around him and some fairly blistering power pop melodies of which new single ‘Say It First’ and set-closer ‘The World’s Best Kisser’ are undoubtedly this evening’s best examples.

Taken from his 2010 self-titled debut album, ‘The Bomb Song’ still sounds ridiculously sublime. At the song’s close the native North Carolinian breaks into an impromptu rap that includes some nonsensical references to Leeds United football club and tins of Heinz beans. Taking his lead, a number of men in the crowd then respond with their traditional terracing chant of “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire”. Mishearing those flattened White Rose county vowels, Darwin Deez joins in the refrain. “You’re shit, you’re shit, you’re shit”, he trills. Hopefully we aren’t, he most definitely isn’t and in this one single moment Darwin Deez captures all of the delightful playfulness, light-hearted warmth and crackling energy of the occasion.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos from this show can be found HERE

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