Darwin Deez – Komedia, Brighton – 2nd October 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

The three year gap between 2015’s Double Down and this year’s 10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart (which we called “a triumphant return”) has caused a decline of sorts for Darwin Deez. Having played at Concorde 2 on the Double Down tour, they hit Komedia on their latest tour. Nevertheless, judging from the flocks of teenagers waiting outside before the doors even opened, and an exuberance for the music – both old and new – that you don’t see everywhere, Darwin Deez are still a force of nature in the indie world. With a set spanning all four of his records, but still with a focus on his most popular debut, Darwin Deez gives his fans exactly what they want.

Support on the night, and indeed the whole tour, came from up-and-coming starlet Dylan Cartlidge. With a main support slot with Bad Sounds, too, to come later on in the year it looks as if 2018 might be his opportunity to breakout. For good reason, as his set is a spectacular mix of indie-rock, hip-hop and funk. Take recent single ‘Up & Upside Down’, for example, which was co-written with indie icon Jamie T. With all the adolescent exuberance of Jamie T fused with a hip-hop heavy bassline, it sounded even better live than it does on record. There’s no doubt about it, Cartlidge is set to be a star.

When it comes to Darwin Deez, we know he loves siding with the offbeat, quirky side of indie. His live show continues to be no different, too, as he and his band open his set with a circle dance before even playing a note. In fact, throughout the night the Darwin Deez band bust more moves than the entire audience combined. There’s a radiant energy to Darwin Deez that is completely captivating, and one that makes it difficult to wipe the smile from your face. Opening with ‘The City’, from Darwin Deez, it’s clear that this tour is all about taking his audience on a journey all the way from the beginning to now.

He does that expertly, too, as he follows up ‘The City’ with ‘You Can’t Be My Girl’, ‘Last Cigarette’, and latest single ‘Getaway’. All from different Darwin Deez records, it was a fantastic way of showing his growth as an artist but with that intrinsically quirky link that fuses all of his work together. It’s not all about his music either, bizarrely, as a lot of tonight’s entertainment comes from his on-stage talk and his dynamic energy. In the middle of his set, his band leave him to freestyle and then join him on stage for a dance to a mash-up of Kendrick Lamar and Drake. It’s utterly ludicrous, but incredibly entertaining and the kind of unique moment that could only come from a Darwin Deez show.

With an encore made up of mega indie hits ‘Radar Detector’, ‘Constellations’ and ‘The Bomb Song’, it’s clear that Darwin Deez knows exactly how to compile a set. With the whole encore coming from his eponymous debut album, without a doubt his most popular record to date, he sent the crowd into a frenzy of dancing and moshing and he genuinely looked delighted to be doing so. Refreshing in a way, as artists usually try and cram as much of their latest record in as possible, Darwin Deez looks like he enjoys the fervour of his earlier music as much as his fans do. With outrageous dancing, a whole host of jokes, and some of the finest indie music of this generation, Darwin Deez put on an absolute clinic.

Liam McMillen

Website: darwindeez.com
Facebook: facebook.com/darwindeeez
Twitter: twitter.com/darwindeez