Darwin Deez and Johnny Brenda Get it On

It was another hazy, hot, and humid July day here in Philadelphia, but that didn’t stop fans of (New York based) “Darwin Deez” from packing into Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown. Opening act “Caged Animals” got the night started shortly after 9pm, playing for about 30 minutes. Then came a 45 minute wait, and it was headliner time. The last time Darwin Deez was in town (at Kung Fu Necktie) the show sold out. This show was very close to doing the same.

Darwin Deez is almost impossible to classify. The four member outfit (consisting of Darwin Deez, Michelle on bass, Greg on drums, and Miles on guitar) dresses like they forgot they had gym class and had to scramble to find something to play hipster kickball in at the last minute.

Between songs (and occasionally during) they do poorly coordinated, quirky dances to custom mash-ups (our favorite on Tuesday was Enya & Rage Against The Machine) on stage.

We worried several times that Miles was actually having a seizure while playing guitar (he wasn’t).

Darwin Deez, who sports long curly hair, a headband, and a mustache, even raps (and produced an entire rap album called “Wonky Beats” which is Willy Wonka themed) and broke into a cover of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”.

They are tragically uncool. So much so, that they are are a super-magnet for hipsters (as was evidenced when several fans asked the merchandise table if they were selling his tracks on vinyl). They have a cult following.

And then there’s the music…

Undeniably catchy, simple (yet brilliant), indie-pop-rock, that really ties the whole thing together. Whatever Darwin Deez is doing, or not doing, it’s working. Fans love him and his arsenal of resonant tunes like “Constellations”, “Radar Detector”, and “Bad Day”. Packed into the downstairs area and the balcony up above, they clapped, danced, and sang along to every number. When the band finally left the stage, the crowd drew them back for a encore with chants of “one more song”!

Darwin Deez is raw. There are no bells and whistles. What you see is what you get, even if you’re not always quite sure what it is that you’re seeing. The music is minimalistic but sticks in your head like glue. Being genuine is Darwin Deez’s golden ticket, and he’s cashing in.

Check out our video from last night’s show below:

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