Divine Fits at Bluebird Theater, 12/14/12
Tom Murphy Divine Fits at the Bluebird Theater in Denver last night
DIVINE FITS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER |12/14/12
Picking a high point of a show as thoroughly enjoyable as this one would be tough, but when Alex Fischel started playing the synth intro to "You Got Lucky" by Tom Petty -- which could have gone either way, kitschy or funny -- and Dan Boeckner started singing (turns out he's one of the few people who do Petty believably and with conviction) and then Britt Daniel and Sam Brown joined in, these guys turned a mere cover into a song that they could've written, playing it as though they owned it. Boeckner even rattled out the guitar echoes at the end of the song. For a band that made a virtue out of layered and dynamic simplicity the whole show, the attention to detail on this song, which it didn't even write, was quite impressive.
Tom Murphy Divine Fits at Bluebird Theater
Earler, when the show started, the lights dimmed a bit, and Fischel came on to the stage to much applause, and he created a synth figure as the other members of the band strolled on stage to even more applause. The crowd's excitement level clearly registered on the pleasantly surprised faces of the band, which opened with the interesting choice of the more subdued "Neapolitans" -- only this version was not as subdued as the recorded version.
But this was just a prelude as the band ramped up the energy and sustained it for nearly an hour and a half, following up the opener with "Baby Get Worse." For such a solid, entrancing pop song on the record, live, the guys gave it some extra emotional weight and uplifting energy.
After an intense and powerful outro for "Would That Not Be Nice," for "My Love is Real," Boeckner set down his instrument and sang, while Brown and Fischel established a steady, pulsing rhythm, as Daniel let loose fragments of textural tones into the mix. During a chorus toward the middle, Boeckner came off the front of the stage into the audience and sang among those gathered upfront.
"The Salton Sea" began with an essentially motorik beat courtesy of Fischel, and the way all the instruments built up the sound and wove together was especially powerful and moving in a way that isn't as obvious on the album -- which is pretty normal when a band starts to play its material more often live and evolves it a bit.
Boeckner's solo toward the end was remarkably expressive and passionate. Before "Like Ice Cream," Daniel told us that Fischel was going to play guitar, and that when he joined the band initially, Daniel had heard he played a little guitar. "And he's better than me," Daniel informed us, marveling with an amused modesty.
Tom Divine Fits at Bluebird Theater in Denver last night
The main set ended with "For Your Heart." In the beginning, Boeckner created a sound from his guitar with some modified delay, like something metal bouncing around haphazardly inside a metallic container with a rapid back and forth tone. Even more so than most of the rest of the set, it became apparent that Daniel and Boeckner had similar strumming styles in guitar, even though both had very different yet very complimentary styles in the leads. At the end of the song, a dense, smoky sonic atmosphere broke apart and cleared.