Django Django: Shepherds Bush Empire. Friday 21, 2012: the end of the world.
Gulp, the aptly-named opening choice, reacted to doomsday by beaching themselves on the fringes of desert rock. We were thirsty for something more, so Egyptian Hip Hop took the stage and livened up the apocalypse with overlapping wobbly pop. Not hip hop. Lead singer, Alex Hipster, overlapped the stage and spilled onto the floor in the middle of the crowd.
He was probably trying to say something but all I could make out was breathy vocal training. If he learned to shut up the band would be great.
‘Not like this’, I heard people praying. The end of the world party wasn’t supposed to feel like a drag; we needed to go out on a bang. Django Django understood and swung a ‘Hail Bop’ comet on us. From then on the soundscape was set for a shit-kicking good time.
Playful throbs and spaghetti-sci-fi synths on ‘Waveforms’, ‘Love Dart’ and ‘Firewater’ possessed our bodies, flooring one guy at the front, which got security anxious. Indeed, it wasn’t all revelry. If not the end of days it was certainly the last stop of the tour and the end of a much-lauded 2012 since their debut album dropped the jaws of critics everywhere.
The pressure is on for another strong year and a second album with muscles big enough to deliver on the praise, especially after their Mercury Prize nomination. I’d say they’ve reacted accordingly – their home-made shirts have grown collars, Tommy Grace (keys) wields an industrial sized tambourine, and their sound is rearing for nothing smaller than a stadium.
Mid-way through the gig they slowed it down and took us on a minimalist stroll with ‘Hand of Man’, which also gave the visuals (projected on big venetian blinds) a chance to shine. But the apocalypse party waits for no one and the breather was quickly overtaken by UK Festival Awards’ Anthem of the Summer, ‘Default’. At this, everyone was on their feet. Psychedelic surf rock on ‘Life’s a Beach’ kept the rhythm up, with tub-thumping ‘Storm’ chasing that.
Security’s torches flitted with increasing nervousness, adding to the lightshow. It could only mean that this end-of-world gig was on track. The band acknowledged that it was their biggest ever sell-out show before unpacking some percussion heavy dance-pop and blowing the roof off with grand finale, ‘WOR’. The world outside could’ve been on fire for all we knew, no one cared though, we were sweating inside. So was the band. So were the walls.
The encore was answered with castaway ode, ‘Silver Rays’, to see us through the other side of the apocalypse. Here’s hoping Django Django shake the earth again in 2013.