Direct Influence

Crowd participation is what you want when you're in a band, up on stage and belting out your pride-and-joy, or so I'm led to believe.


That's until the scene gets ugly....


Ok, so the scene at the Republic Bar and Cafe on April 23rd never got ‘ugly'. But it could've.


If mountainous frontman Dylan Smith had decided to pick up the painful old goat who'd invaded his stage (and grabbed the mic to rant about her ‘stolen' phone) and speared her through the window and out into the gutter where she belonged, I guess it would've counted as ugly.


Lucky the DI boys weren't interested in ugliness on their first trip to Tassie. They just wanted to amp the crowd up on their blend of funky Trans-Tasman, hip-hoppish, reggae-heavy tunes.


And that they did!


Touring on the back of their debut album, War in My Kitchen, the DI crew cruised through a set big on smooth grooves and soulful sounds. Foot tapping, head bobbing and broad, appreciative smiles were the order of the day for the punters gathered in the front bar.


The set was heavy with tunes from the aforementioned album (which you should all take a listen to, btw) and even without the range of excellent guest performers from the album (incl. the much-hyped Dan Sultan), all stood up to the live test!


Smith's soulful vocals really set the tone, particularly on standout tracks like ‘Carry On' and ‘For My People' (the tune that features Sultan on the album). There's an unassuming quality about the towering singer, but there's nothing shy and retiring about his presence when he's out front and enjoying himself.


Band maestro Ross and the rest of the assembled DI crew back-up their frontman beautifully, establishing irresistible grooves across a whole host of styles. By the time ‘Cornerboy' came around, I was in seventh reggae heaven!!


Lucky for me I'd managed to catch the War in My Kitchen launch party in Melbourne at Easter. Far from 'familiarity breeding contempt', knowing some of the DI tunes going into this gig was a treat.


I might've been in the minority at the Republic, singing along to the words I knew (or thought I knew), but I doubt I'll be on my ‘Pat Malone' next time they grace these shores.


And for a band with a foot both in Australia and New Zealand, you've gotta think Tassie is the perfect place to play... Here's hoping Direct Influence make it back soon!

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