Skip to main content

DIIV LIVE @ Manchester Academy

Following an extended hiatus, Diiv have returned on a world tour following the release of their recent album, ‘Deceiver’. The Brooklyn four piece headed by Zachary Cole Smith remained true to their shoegaze aesthetic for the most part. However, the grunge influences of their new record incorporate an interesting, if not nostalgic, dimension to the live show.

Even 30 minutes before Diiv came on stage, Manchester Academy 2 was a tightly packed with eager fans. The dress code was uniform; black boots, black trousers and ‘insert indie rock band name here’ black t shirt. Their walk out music was simply the monotonous, deafening drone of feedback from the guitar. However, despite their best efforts to seemingly deter the crowd from gathering, there was a simmering anticipation within the dimly lit room.

They emerged nonchalantly, and with a simply ‘thank you for coming, we’re Diiv’, they plunge straight into tracks from their new album. The gentle melodies of the openers ‘Horsehead’ and ‘Skin Game’ come as a breath of fresh air in the dense room. ‘Skin Game’ especially feels like it could come off of a Sonic Youth album; playfully contrasting Cole’s singing to heavy tones of guitars which perhaps most Diiv fans are not accustomed to.

Certainly, ‘Deceiver’ has brought a variation of Diiv which perhaps puts more focus on the lead guitarist, Andrew Bailey. He stands centre-stage and contorts his face into grimaces, grins and scowls, darting his eyes across the crowd as the hard hitters of ‘Taker’ and ‘Like Before You Were Born’ play out. In comparison to the rest of the band, Cole lingers on the side of the stage; slinking in and out of sight, almost beckoned back onto stage when called upon to sing. The bassist Colin Caufield echoes Cole’s lyrics in a falsetto and drummer Ben Newman keeps the band on Earth when it is threatening to spiral into a wave of delay and reverb.

Diiv revert back to earlier material from ‘Is the Is Are’ and ‘Oshin’ after a few songs. Notable features including ‘Take your Time’ which sprouts the first mosh pits of the night. ‘Doused’ is a welcome interlude of blissful shoegaze to contrast the aggression of the first half of the night. However, Diiv welcome back the tone of the first songs as they finish with the strongest songs from their new album; ‘Blankenship’, ‘For the Guilty’ and ‘Acheron’. At this point, the crowd is in a fervour of excitement and bodies fly across the venue. Even the band, who generally had been fairly passive at this point, begin to thrash around on stage.

All in all, the experience is at times a little confused, but has been enhanced by the new songs. It’s safe to say that Diiv has evolved into a more interesting band with Deceiver. Whilst they haven’t perfected the fusion of their shoegaze and dream pop aesthetic with the grunge tones, they rarely make this distorted melancholy linger or stagnate.

Words: Will Corsellis

Image : Yuki Kikuchi


Popular posts from this blog


In the age of Trump, Covid and Brexit it’s hard to escape the feeling that we’re inching ever closer to some sort of chaotic crescendo. It’s an exhausting time for a lot of people, and alt-punk trio Monakis are none too happy about this mess. Their new track ‘ Fake News ’ is the Brighton band’s second single. Monakis are not keen to shy away from their outrage as the track erupts instantly at breakneck speed. Most recent bands commonly see fights break out at the gigs, but Monakis sound like a gig broke out at a fight. “Respect yourself,” frontman James Porter repeats throughout the track. It’s an unhinged mantra, one delivered with a charismatic snarl.  The sound production on this track is something that I noted right away. It does everything that it needs to do. Modern punk wannabes have a tendency to apply a sort of glimmer and shine to their sound, something which more often than not works to round off the jagged edges that the band have spent so long sharpening. This is not the

The Return

Well then, what a week that was. Many of you will have noticed that this page has been collecting some cobwebs for some time now. I have to apologise for that. Over the lockdown periods we lost something very dear to us all: live music. With this, my inspiration to write had significantly diminished - until this week. Monday night was filled with old friends and wholesome music, it was a well needed trip to the Windmill. This was followed on Saturday with a trip across the river to a park in Crystal Palace for a day of hard hitting tunes, riptide crowds and most of all dirty baselines.  That week reminded me why I wanted to write about music. The Windmill in Brixton is a personal favourite for us at ScumFiles and it was sorely missed.  On Monday I was treated to a night made up of three great acts: Zac Lawrence and The Hate, Sasha and the Shades, headlined by Ideal Husband. All of which contained one or more close friends. Many of you will know that it’s rather cosy venue and most nigh


Alien Chicks where set to play their first gig after their single release “cowboy”. The venue of choice for their endeavour was there Windmill Brixton, and what a place to do it! I haven’t ventured to the Windmill for a fair few months and to be honest with you, I didn’t realise how much I missed the place. As the anticipation built, we walked up Blenheim Gardens and the topic of conversation was full of bands I’ve seen here in their early days; Goat Girl, Lynks, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Squid and Deadletter just to name a few and how I had the same feeling walking up this street as I do now for Alien Chicks.  We bust through the door and where met by the smell of old dry vomit and the sound of thumping punky bass, and I knew I was home… I first met Alien Chicks a few months ago and was blown away with their performance. After interviewing them I was very exited to see where they would end up next, and here I am at their sold out, headline gig at the windmill awaiting the re