Divine Fits. Bluebird Theater. 12.14.12

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Somewhere between the warmth of the Bluebird Theater and the crispy cold air of East Colfax Ave., Britt Daniel push his way past our group in an effort to get backstage to prepare for his gig.  Daniel is big , both in physical stature and in terms of popularity, making him hard to miss.  In the world of independent rock music, he is something of a star.  His band, Spoon, sold out two nights at the (much larger) Ogden Theatre last time he was in town, yet last night his fans were to be treated to a much more intimate set from his new band, Divine Fits.  As I watched him make his way through the crowd, I did not count myself as one of those fans.  I respect Spoon, they just haven’t moved me like they have so many others.  Dan Boeckner is another story.  The other singer for Divine Fits comes from Wolf Parade, one of my favorite bands of the last decade.  Boeckner is also known for Handsome Furs, a band I will always regret not seeing live.  Boeckner is who I had come to see, but Daniel and (New Bomb Turks drummer) Sam Brown were just as impressive in their short, but excellent performance — one of the best straight-up rock shows I experienced this year.  Although, it didn’t start out that way…

As mentioned above, there were a group of people with us — some were Spoon fans, most were Wolf Parade fans, but few had ever heard Divine Fits.  I was a little nervous I’d be held responsible if the show turned out to be a dud, and the first song, album-closer “Neopolitans”, did nothing to ease my concern.  Daniel’s voice was hidden deep in the mix and the song lacked the energy expected from the talent onstage.  Luckily, Boeckner and Brown stepped it up a few hundred notches with “Baby Get Worse”.  From then on out, it was pure rock ‘n roll.  Daniel’s only misstep behind him, every other song sounded better than anything I’ve seen Spoon do onstage.  Every member of the band was feeding of the energy of crowd, and I truly believe they were having more fun than they’ve ever had playing for 10’s of thousands of people in the past.  The show was huge, yet still felt like a personal performance from seasoned indie rock veterans.

I have always been partial to Spencer Krug’s more cerebral songs for Wolf Parade (and Sunset Rubdown and Moonface), but I have to admit, Boeckner and Daniel make more sense.  They were meant to be in a band together, and if last night was any evidence, I doubt Divine Fits will just be a one off side-project for these two.

It took less than an hour for the band to exhaust every song from their debut album, but they threw in a few cover songs that were so much more than filler.  The first came half way through the set in the form of Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky”.  The second was The Rolling Stone’s “Sway” — a great way to start the encore.  The night ended with The Boy’s Next Door’s “Shivers” — a cover that appears on the album and just might have been Daniel’s best song of the night.

The set could have gone on for another hour and no one would have complained, but unfortunately the guys were out of material.  Here’s to hoping another album is down the road, as well as another stop in Denver!  I wouldn’t doubt if next time finds these guys back in the larger venues they are used to.  I’m just glad I’ll be able to say I saw them when.

Setlist:
Neopolitans
Baby Get Worse
Flaggin A Ride
What Gets You Alone
Would That Not Be Nice
My Love is Real
Civilian Stripes
You Got Lucky (Tom Petty cover)
The Salton Sea
Like Ice Cream
For Your Heart

Sway (The Rolling Stones cover)
Shivers (The Boys Next Door cover)