“DIIV brought shoegaze psych-rock to The Wiltern for their Los Angeles stop on the Desert Daze Caravan with Ariel Pink. Building on the intro by a solid minute, they opened their set with the titular track off their latest album, Is The Is Are. As the first lyrics spilled from Zachary Cole Smith’s lips the pit opened and grew chaotic. This kept up for the entirety of the set. Their stoic performance became a soundtrack to the homemade visuals being projected behind them; shot with a shitty camcorder, lagging as Quicktime Player struggled to keep up, featuring the mundane sights of life on tour interspersed with naked woman and boyish humor. Heavy heads rolled and lolled on hunched spines, but every now and then you could spot them craning around to watch their nostalgic home movie, too.
Speaking directly to friends and members of the audience (largely about socks), it felt as though we were all hanging out in their garage-turned-studio. Maybe it’s the fact that the majority of the time I’ve spent listening to DIIV has occurred in the isolation of bedrooms where the droning, haunting sounds open wide and swallow you whole, but overall, the show was lighter than I expected. The guitars weren’t so dense, the melodies had room to breathe. While the execution of the songs was a mirror to their recorded counterparts, this shift in vibe made it feel like listening to a whole new band. Whether that’s good or bad, you’ll have to decide for yourself.”
Photography & Words: Kirby Gladstein