Divine Fits: A Supergroup Done Right
Members of Spoon & Wolf Parade join forces and shine in Seattle
By Travis Hay
MSN Music Staff
Being labeled a supergroup can be tricky. On one hand you get the benefit of having a built-in fanbase, but on the other hand you have the burden of living up to the expectation of being, well, super. The latter is something Divine Fits, the newest indie supergroup, did extremely well during its 75-minute set at Seattle club The Crocodile.
The band consists of Britt Daniel of Spoon, Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, and Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, and its Seattle show happened two days after the release of its debut album, "A Thing Called Divine Fits." And while the record was less than a week old, that didn't stop many in the crowd from singing along to every song, which was not only a testament to how good the band's songs are, but also how revered Spoon and Wolf Parade are by the indie rock set.
Divine Fits' music is a solid melding of its respective members other bands, but not so much that the group doesn't have its own identity. Songs like "What Gets You Alone" and "The Salton Sea" could possibly fit on a Spoon or Wolf Parade album, but they fit better with the collection of songs put together by Divine Fits. Overall, "A Thing Called Divine Fits" is somewhat of a modern throwback record that sees Boeckner, Daniel and Brown joining forces to create their own distinct sound while giving several nods to 1980s pop and new wave.
Since Divine Fits are a new band – Boeckner said the Seattle show was only their 10th public performance – there were a few false starts during songs and some minor mistakes during the show, which was to be expected. Although there were a few slipups, it was clear everyone onstage was having a good time, as Boeckner, Daniel and Brown could be seen flashing smiles and grinning at one another throughout the night.
The set opened with "Flaggin a Ride" during which Jessica Dobson, from the band Deep Sea Diver, pitched in on vocals and guitar. Dobson, who plays on Divine Fits' record but is not a member of the band, added a bit more star power to the group as she has spent time serving as touring guitarist for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beck and is currently a member of The Shins.
Later in the set, the band covered Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "You Got Lucky" with Dobson again contributing vocals and guitar. Divine Fits' version of the song showcased the band's penchant for '80s sounds with a groove that sounded like Foreigner's "Cold as Ice," and strangely, it worked well with the Tom Petty classic. The band's original material like "Baby Get Worse" and "For Your Heart" carried excellent synthesized beats that provided dance-friendly tunes for the small club's capacity crowd. In all, the group delivered a 13-song set that included all 11 songs off its album, along with the Petty cover and a cover of the Wipers' "Doom Town," which was relatively faithful to the original.
The set closed with "Shivers," after which Daniel bashed a piñata that was suspended above the stage with a broomstick. It would have been nice to hear a Spoon or Wolf Parade song, but Divine Fits' set was so solid that they didn't need to dig into the songbooks of its members' other bands to deliver a good performance, which is the sign of a supergroup done right.
1. Flaggin a Ride
2. Baby Get Worse
3. The Salton Sea
4. What Gets You Alone
5. Would That Not Be Nice
6. Civilian Stripes
7. My Love is Real
8. Doom Town (Wipers cover)
10. Like Ice Cream
11. You Got Lucky (Tom Petty cover)
12. For Your Heart