Maybe it’s their name, but I gave England’s Django Django a pass when their eponymously titled debut released last year.
Gradually, more people began to champion the quartet so what was once forgotten was returned to my consciousness. It wasn’t until a friend told me, “If you liked the Beta Band you’ll love Django Django” I made an effort to actually listen.
I was never discreet about my love for the Beta Band, and it was like icing on the cake when I discovered Django drummer David Maclean is the brother of The Beta Band’s John Maclean. It didn’t take me long on that first listen to want to kick my own arse for not listening to those smart friends of mine who’d tried to alert me to Django’s charm.
Clearly Mama Maclean fed her boys some freaky Dancing Juice, as Django Django (the album) is an inspired platter of dance rock with a little extra surf influence thrown in. Not unlike the Beta Band before mushrooms hijacked their debut album, Django definitely leans more on the dance floor.
So it was with my dancing shoes I ventured out to the Opera House to catch the band on their second visit to town. The show had an uncharacteristic early start, meaning I missed the opening band Night Moves, who I admit to knowing nothing about.
Django Django took to the stage right on time at 9:15 with an interesting and elaborate lightshow that gave the impression on set openers “Intro” and “Hail Bop” they were performing behind blinds. An enthusiastic band met an enthusiastic audience and the band responded by airing all but one track from their debut.
The sound was surprisingly rich and the lightshow was a great compliment to the songs that were more dancey than expected, but it worked. Many bands attempt to mix rock with dance music though few succeed. I’ll say on record Django succeeds (and then some) in the live experience.
Although Toronto isn’t known for throwing down a dance party between 9 and 10 pm on a Tuesday night, the almost full Opera House did their best to oblige. Climaxing with a hurried yet euphoric “Default”, a song that deserves to be huge, and would be just perfect for placement in a Tarantino film, and closing out the set with “Life’s A Beach” and “WOR”. The band quickly returned to a very pumped crowd and sent them packing happy with “Silver Rays”.