Piles of cooler-than-thou Angelinos showed up for a mid-week dose of Parisian indie pop courtesy of French/Finnish two-piece the Dø on Wednesday. Their fan base for the 10:30 p.m. gig, mostly guys in their mid-20s and 30s, cheered as Olivia Merilahti walked on stage in a see-through gown topped off with an enormous chiffon collar. Multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy followed her lead and hopped on the piano with guitarist Bastien and saxophonist Marielle rounding out the lineup. Flooding the air with experimental percussions and static noise, the layered complexity of half-sung-half spoken vocals and alto sax was both eerie and surprisingly beautiful.
By the end of the first song, “A Mess Like This,” the band had complete authority over the crowd. Silence fell over the room as Merliahti sang about secret vices, pleasure and pain. Her voice vibrated with slow, haunting melodies while Levy's arrangements took us on a moody roller coaster ride as he conducted the sound from behind his round, Persol sunglasses. The front-woman owns the stage with her refined interpretive dancing that draws her closer into the crowd and Levy.
At the start of the second song, “Aha,” the entire quartet comes to life, Marielle shuffles her legs in a very stylized motion of walking in place, as she turned into the sexiest thing to ever beat a drum and bang on pots & pans (one of The Dø's signature instruments). She is human with the endurance of a diesel engine – she can handle her sax and the percussion from-start-to-finish of a single song without panting. With the combined efforts of the entire band, no song sounds similar to another. This became evident during the performance of the past hit single, “On My Shoulders” from their debut album A Mouthful, which pairs bouncy acoustic guitar with plaintive vocals.
The show wrapped up with some unpredictable beats during “Slippery Slope”, inspiring a posse of young blood females in the crowd throw down their best tribal dance moves. After wrapping up in L.A., The Dø prepare to forge ahead on a brief stint through the East Coast and Canada. Though we're not quite sure when they're coming back to Southern California, a chance to see them in an intimate venue is definitely worth your while.
Critical Bias: Do not wait to discover The Dø until Coachella. Enjoy them now!
Crowd: The crowd was a mix of young Steve Jobs clones and older hipsters – you know,
the ones who claim to have been responsible for starting the trend.
Overheard: During the song “On My Shoulders” two sober girls who stood behind me
could not stop saying, “He's so fucking hot.” They were referring to guitarist/
Random Notebook Dump: A pair of besties, Ertel M. and fine artist Cedar Miller
described The Dø as part punk/ Pink Floyd/ Bjork.