Denio at Camden Assembly / Gig Review
Spherical lights drape down the wall of the Camden Assembly stage. They emit a warm and positive atmosphere that floods into the patient audiences eyes who eagerly await the arrival of tonight's opening act, Denio.
Having originated from the historically musically rich land of Liverpool where the band members first met, they began to practice their chosen craft together. The band now reside in the nation's capital in order to further promote themselves and get known for their music.
Good indie music has always had an element of risk and progression woven into its sonic textures. Denio on their recently released singles ‘Models’ and “Cait” demonstrate their expansive use of songwriting prowess with melodic hooks that aren't just catchy, but unpredictable. This creates a huge interest in their sound and was reflected at their debut London performance.
Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Mike Davis takes centre stage, flanked both sides by the Hernandez brothers (Dan on keys and bass, Andres on lead guitar) and drummer Bill Caple taking up the rear.
Their image demands the attention of their followers as Davis towers upon the stage and confidently reigns over his listeners before erupting into the first song of the night ‘Inhale, Exhale’.
The sound created by each individual member stands out within the mix of the song adding its own distinct flavour without either component being overpowering, creating a cohesive structure and foreshadowing the performance that is about to unfold. Their sound and look is reminiscent of the ‘Talking Heads’ who went out of their way to not have individuals in their group stand out like generic rock bands of their time, and focused more on the collective.
Dan Hernandez's (a current University Of West London student) background in Jazz shines through the set where it needs to in a smart and minimalistic way. This offers a breath of fresh air to their genre of music which really sets them apart and gives them their own recognisable sound. When blended with Andres Hernandez’s spaciously melodic guitar lines the key parts of the sound are mastered. The thumping and energy inducing four to the floor beats supplied by Caple inflict danceable rhythms into the songs which the audience can’t help but sway and shake too. Davis’s vocals soar over the infectious tones of the songs and stun the airwaves with lyrics that discuss prejudice towards beauty and how it warps a beholder's mind and interest.
The group appear humbled and gracious towards their fans, ditching the stereotypical ‘cool’ charade. Of course, the inevitable song about a beautiful woman is on the list but it wouldn't be indie without it.
By the time the set reaches the anticipated singles the crowd are entranced with the performance and reassuringly the audience does not share similarity with the curtain of small lights dotted upon the stage, no mobile phones are being used. Everyone is listening and in the moment. This is highly flattering for a band at their level and speaks volume on how they fluently welcomed their listeners into their world and boy did they wanna stay for a while.
The audience were routinely thanked for being there but the feeling of thankfulness was certainly mutual. This was evident with how the song “Models” was received by the crowd. The lyrics were shouted back at Davis in the chorus and if it wasn't for the Hernandez duos elevating harmonised backing vocals the audience would have invaded most of what was heard during the track.
Denio are a type of band that belong and own the intimacy of a small crowded space but deserve and could easily control the roar of a much larger venue. The band's humour was indisputable in the songs and nothing stands out more than a band full of fun and passion with something to say. Especially on a Friday night in Camden. Their sound ushers in inspirations from music not in the field they represent, giving them the edge to cut through the norms and stereotypes of their music category. A solid performance with much more to come and to look forward to from the boys from Liverpool.
Written by Hugo Lagnado