If you ask your friends about DIIV, the odds are that they probably won’t know what you’re talking about. But here’s the thing — it’s better that way. When the masses flock to a show to see a mainstream artist, the result is usually an impersonal show. Last night’s performance by DIIV at the Grog Shop, however, was hardly impersonal.
Known for engaging and talking with the crowd, DIIV, a band led by a skinny little hipster dude from Brooklyn, not only charmed the crowd with its wit but somehow managed to play all the right songs too.
With a setlist of 11 songs, both old and new, there was no disappointment; between “Mire (Grant’s Song),” “Dopamine” and “Doused,” DIIV covered its best-known songs while also intertwining their lesser-known songs into the mix. However, much of DIIV’s music has the tendency to blur together if you're not listening closely, but on stage each song was made drastically different by way of the varying energy each member of the band brought to each song. The band’s frontman Zachary Cole Smith, a skinny little guy from Brooklyn, is no doubt the most noticeable on stage; after all, he does all of the talking and singing. But, when watching the others on stage, they each play an important role in stabilizing the sound and bringing a steady flow of energy to the set.
Cut back to the skinny guy from Brooklyn; he is without a doubt fascinating to watch. The Grog Shop was packed like a tin of sardines; there was no room to move around and there was especially no chance of ever making it near the stage because DIIV’s loyal constituents kept shoving other patrons away. This kind of loyalty is only possible when the musician is mesmerizing, and that's exactly what Smith is. He is mesmerizing.
He mesmerized the crowd first and foremost with his soaring, sensual, almost ecclesiastical vocals. At times his voice soared so high that you wondered if he was maybe a female vocalist, but then, in a blink of an eye, the vocals dove so low that you're reminded DIIV is, in fact, led by a skinny dude from Brooklyn. Aside from the dazzling music DIIV produced, which was just as good live as it was recorded, Smith also mesmerized us with his charisma. He has an insatiable appetite for laughter which led him to constantly joke around with the crowd. His seemingly innocent persona when matched by his biting, dark sense of humor made for entertaining interludes between each song; at one point he started singing the theme song of Friends and pointed out how stupid the song is because the “lyrics suck; they make no sense.”
He had funnier moments, like when he asked the crowd, “Who here is getting picked up by their mom? It’s okay, getting picked up by your mom is cool. But you know what’s not cool? Getting picked up by your dad.” Other moments like this went into shaping a casual, personal show that made DIIV’s music stand-out that much more. For an artist to have such a presence on stage like Smith does is rare and makes attending shows like last night a genuine treat.