Review: DIIV Delivers an Excellent Shoegaze Atmosphere at Logan Square Auditorium
On a night where Chicago hosted other extraordinary acts like Big Thief, Jay Som, Palehound, and Sleater Kinney. I have found myself seeing DIIV. The four piece from Brooklyn piqued my interest when I saw them at Lollapalooza in 2013 which doesn’t seem like six years ago, but time flies.
Since that show, they’ve become known for their covers of songs by Alex G and My Bloody Valentine, but also for Zachary Cole Smith’s drug use and their former bassist being a keyboard warrior on the internet’s most problematic website, 4chan. Smith and his bandmates handled their issues with their bassist by swiftly removing him, and Smith took time to handle his issues with drug use. During this span there was a hiatus or two which led to 2016’s Is the Is Are and 2019’s Deceiver – both have been received well by fans and journalists.
I’ve been to the elusive Logan Square Auditorium once before it’s more low key than the flashy new businesses you’ll see on the surrounding block. With high ceilings and gloomy lights, you could mistake the auditorium for being a church, the only thing missing is a pastor, candles, and a few church pews. There’s a good mix of your typical Logan Square bros along with middle–aged couples who look like they couldn’t grab a ticket to Sleater-Kinney tonight. It’s a weird mix but nonetheless not that surprising to see these demographics collide on a Friday night.
DIIV quickly breakout into “Horsehead,” the leading track from this year’s album. It’s a drastic change from their previous work which leaned into a more dream pop characteristic, now they’ve incorporated more melodic head banging riffs that remind me of fellow east coast band, Nothing.
It seems the guitarist/vocalist can’t shy away from the past when they play “Doused” from DIIV’s debut album, easily one of the best shoegaze songs in the past 10 years. A bulk of the songs DIIV played came from their newest album, showcasing the band’s attention to detail opposed to previous outputs of the same repetitive poppy grooves thrown through a reverb petal. Much of this band’s success seems to be hindered by the speculation from today’s media and the way the band has been perceived. But here, now, this is the best version of DIIV. This is the definitive version of Zachary Cole Smith and DIIV.