The problem with “supergroups” is that they’re often more projects (or product) than actual groups; there’s little cohesion, just a series of solo moments. The typical result is a decent record, followed by a tour of less than “super” live performances. Happily, this wasn’t the case for Divine Fits’ Friday night show at the decidedly crowded Bluebird Theater.
While some of DF’s album, “A Thing Called Divine Fits,” does seem a sum of its parts, the band’s live presentation not only flowed, it swung and rocked … hard. Divine Fits, super or not, is a great live group. For the uninitiated, Divine Fits is made up of: vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Britt Daniel of Spoon, vocalist/bassist Dan Boeckner, formerly of Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade, Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks on drums and, on the tour, keyboardist Alex Fischel.
With only an 11-song album to draw from, the set was understandably short, maybe 80 minutes. Following the opener, “Neopolitans,” both the crowd and the band got going with “Baby Get Worse,” feeding on the ‘80s-ish bass/synth pulse that wonderfully drove most of the show.
Short of Boeckner’s brief foray into the crowd, there were few superstar moves, but the band, particularly the rhythm section, provided plenty of first-rate grooves. DF’s reverbed up cover of Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky” fit in rather well; most of the band’s songs are about women. Hitting peak after peak all set long, the band played muscular, emotional music that oozed a subtle sexuality.
Regular set closer, “For Your Heart,” was exquisitely extended just the right amount, with Daniel and Boeckner both on guitars; a rollicking, runaway train of drone. The two-song encore featured an interesting, almost bluesy take on “Sway” by the Rolling Stones. The finale, “Shivers,” was another cover, this one from their album. Written by Australian indie rock guitarist Rowland S. Howard (once a co-member of the Birthday Party with Nick Cave), it was moody and psychedelic, but a perfect closer to a far better than might have been expected show.
Mike Long is a Longmont-based writer and comedian and a regular contributor to Reverb.