DIIV at SWG3, 24/3/16

Have to admit I fell for the Pitchfork feature and as a result BOUGHT(!!!) Is The Is Are, having being not won over by debut record, Oshin, a few years ago.

Zachary Cole Smith wearing what looks like a polkadot onesie comes on stage with his five-piece band, set guitars to Johnny Marr, and with their jangly and delayed sound start bouncing around SWG3.


Like fellow Captured Tracks artist Mac Demarco, the chimey guitars hint and draw from various genres from the past two decades; this is maybe one reason why the crowd is so varied tonight.

DIIV merge elements of Captured Tracks songwriter, shoegaze and 80s guitars, that at their most subtle sound like the Stone Roses and at their most heroic U2.


Is The Is Are cuts such as ‘Dopamine’ and ‘Bent (Roi’s Song)’ are immediate highlights, but what is a pleasant surprise is how great this five-piece sound in a setting like this; surely helped by a very healthy turn out tonight.

Supposedly having written 300 songs for this album and a delay in its release, I was hoping tonight’s set would be heavily leaned to this material, a majority all sticking to the formula of loose simple melodies mixed with shoegaze and motorik elements, but what is surprising is how well Oshin’s material translates live.

An aggression replaces the light mood that the record conveys; with this in mind I will happily buy DIIV’s next LP regardless of press and hype.

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Words: Joey Chipsticks
Photos: Elina Lin


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