Sliding onto the stage with his crew performing dance moves in tandem, Darwin Deez really does seem to be too smooth to be true. The distinctive vocals, trademark voice, and somehow effortlessly charismatic chat combine to create a character that appears almost fictional – and Deez was certainly on top form when he appeared at Brighton’s Komedia on Tuesday night.
Dylan Cartridge, a young northern musician with an impressive stage presence and a funky edge to his music warmed the room for the main act. His slick bass riffs and alternative sound quickly livened the midweek crowd, and he both shocked and stunned audiences with his confidence and freestyle rap. Having worked with Jamie T on track “Up & Upside Down”, the reaction of the crowd and his backing by more established artists suggests the future promises bright things for the alternative hip-hop artist.
Deez also took his turn to rap – although his attempt was slightly less ‘freestyle’ and slightly more polished than that of Cartridge. The crowd knew every word of every line as he and his band glided through “You Can’t Be My Girl” and “Moon Lit” with scrupulous precision, the seamless cohesion of the members resulting in a sound almost identical to the studio recorded version of the tracks. Emotions were high as a clean opening riff signalled the start of “The Bomb Song”, and the crowd screamed “say you love me now” with overwhelming passion as the track entered its chorus.
However, despite a musically faultless performance, there was something missing for me. A sense of arrogance tinged the night, from backhanded remarks about fellow musicians to rambling interludes about Rocky III, I just didn’t find Deez as likeable as I wanted to. So as fans enjoyed the final tunes of “Radar Detector”, “Constellations” and “Bad Day”, I was left with the feeling that Darwin Deez wasn’t quite what I thought he would turn out to be…