Does it Offend You, Yeah? at Talking Heads, March 22

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After getting drunk to the beat of support acts Tripwires and Hounds, DIOYY?‘s lead vocalist James Rushent managed to find his way to the stage. I’d read several reviewers criticize Rushent and his pre-gig drinking, and frequently relying on guitarist Matty Derham for support; it’s easy to see why. Tonight, thankfully, it didn’t affect his vocals.

Does it Offend You, Yeah?‘s second album, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You, finally hit shelves earlier this year. Fresher than the succinctly engineered You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into, the second album doesn’t seem to share the driving force of the first. Nevertheless it leads the band down interesting new avenues, including the hip-hop social commentary ‘Wondering’, which boasts a striking chorus by Chloe Duveaux. But maybe for the best, the band’s set consisted mainly of tracks from their first album. One of the new tracks was sandwiched between the poignantly dark opening,  ‘With a Heavy Heart’, and the gloriously spunky ‘Battle Royale’, but alongside two of the best tracks from the first album, the new track just isn’t strong enough to be remembered. This happened several times during the set, and after a beautifully stripped-down ‘Dawn of The Dead’, the band ended with ‘The Monkey’s Are Coming’, plugging their loud, playful new single.

True of any electronic band, fans of Does It Offend You, Yeah? must consider the authenticity of experiencing them live. For example, Rushent’s vocals on tracks like “We are Rockstars”, forced through a synthesiser, were pitch-perfect tonight, whereas the unvarnished vocals in ‘Let’s Make Out’ sounded distinctly shaky. Derham’s riffs, on the other hand, remained steady throughout the set.

Nevertheless, Does It Offend You, Yeah? sounded just as powerful as in 2008. Rushent’s humor really came across, initially introducing the band as indie-pop peddlers The Vaccines. In frank conversation with the audience, alcohol betraying the honesty so prevalent in his music, Rushent admitted that the band would never sell out, stating that “we won’t have a video in a desert, or mazes and shit.”

Good – This band definitely hasn’t lost any of their raw, sweaty energy – they’re just as powerful as the last time I saw them, way back in 2008.

Bad – James’ condition on stage is a precarious thing. This time it actually worked to his advantage, but the band’s equilibrium of good and bad reviews mean that the ticket price is always going to be a gamble.

8/10

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