There is considerable excitement amidst the crowd at Manchester’s Academy 2, and for good reason; tonight brings the welcome return of DIIV. Having been four long years since the band set foot on UK shores, not to mention the promise of tracks from their latest album, 2019’s Deceiver (Captured Tracks) being played in full, the audience are bouncing before the band even hits the stage.
Emerging from the darkness to a carefully orchestrated stage setup, complete with otherworldly scented diffuser, the guys from DIIV resemble a hooded and hip Kraftwerk-like cult. Calm and smiling with a quiet contentment, they cast off into their tight, soaring soundscapes.
Much has been written about the drug battles, subsequent rehab, and redemption of band leader Zachary Cole Smith. This period having seemingly drawn to an end brought about the excellent return and catharsis on Deceiver. With new sounds explored and contributions from bass player Colin Caulfield, it shows the band still have a long way to travel.
DIIV are still the masterful band that captured fans back in 2012 with their ethereal, beautiful sounds. The music is intricate and precise, yet with enough space for experimentation even in well known songs.
Looking to Smith for direction (he is still the captain of his ship) Caulfield is equally vital in the setup with his vocals a core aspect of the sound throughout. Interestingly the focal point of the band for most of the show is neither vocalist, but guitarist Andrew Bailey, who poses, pouts, and scowls throughout the set.
Songs are welcomed with cheers and copious bursts of dancing from newer songs like ‘Blankenship’, to classics ‘Doused’ and ‘Under the Sun’, all equally well-received from a sell-out audience whose enthusiasm never wanes.
Smiling throughout, all members of DIIV appear to show their relief and joy that their rightful position as one of the most exciting bands in the world is reclaimed; their dark period is well behind them, and an even brighter future is on the horizon.