DIIV @ Stylus 21/02/2020

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On yet another miserable February’s evening, American rock outfit DIIV arrived at Stylus to take precedence over Fruity as the defining part of the union’s Friday night.

Support band Chastity kicked things off with a blend of laid-back and heavier tunes, the latter of which resulting in a broken string on the guitarist’s part. The night marked the second date of their UK tour, and Canadian frontman Brandon Williams took this moment to give a shout-out to Greggs, whose sausage rolls both bands have apparently been enjoying: in his words, ‘big up that vegan shit.’

DIIV soon took to the stage and began their set with the dreamy strums of ‘Horsehead’ before blending into the shoegaze sounds of the 2019 hit that signalled their return, ‘Skin Game’. Both were met with a chorus of eager girl screams and lad cheers, before lead singer Zach Smith took a moment to introduce themselves and address their audience.

‘Everyone do their homework before the show? Don’t let your studies slack. Gotta do well at college, or uni. Otherwise you can never participate in capitalism,’ he quips wryly.

The band lounge around the stage with an easy air of confidence as they ‘diiv’ through their latest album Deceiver, playing new favourites ‘Like Before You Were Born’ and ‘Taker’ and immersing the crowd in their ethereal, grunge-tinged soundscape. They take a dramatic pause before the opening riff of the beloved ‘Doused’ crawls into the room, sending shivers of 2012 nostalgia throughout the crowd.

DIIV make way for some moments of mellow bliss as they linger through ‘Lorelei’, ‘Take Your Time’ and the heady, excessive reverb of ‘For the Guilty’. An hour soon passes in the company of DIIV’s effortless performance, spent drifting in and out of explosive guitar solos and subdued verse, and before long it’s time for their penultimate track – Deceiver gem ‘Blankenship’.

After a curfew warning – Fruity waits for no-one, apparently – the band finish with the full seven-minute version of ‘Acheron’, basking in its leisurely, drawn-out strums and euphoric vocals.

The set marked a distinct movement away from their ‘dramatic’ last gig in Leeds, marred by technical difficulties and an ‘emotional outburst’ on the part of Smith, for which he apologised for this time round. This gig couldn’t have been more different, as the band delivered a flawless performance and fundamentally re-wrote their Leeds legacy.

HOLLIE GRISS