The first time I saw NY-based indie rockers The Dig, it was at a music festival where the stage smelled like actual trash. The music was so good that I couldn’t leave.
Just in from a busy week in Austin at SXSW, the indie quartet didn’t seem too worn down Saturday early evening at their 7:45 PM headline set at The Echo. Playing material from their solid new record Bloodshot Tokyo, the band’s strengths lie in their brooding jams and the dueling falsettos of Emile Mosseri and David Baldwin. Their ability to harmonize as basically one vocal is incredible to watch in person.
When Mosseri served as lead vocalist, he was quite engaging. On “Astronaut,” he moved to the edge of the tiny stage and leaned as far into the crowd as his balance would allow, singing “I must be something of an astronaut to you.”
Early in the show, I saw a Latino man who must have been in his fifties appear in the crowd. He pulled out a tiny pipe and packed it full of weed and without saying anything, turned around and offered it to a trio of pretty girls to smoke. The Echo is such a small venue that it’s much more difficult to obscure what you’re trying to do, but this guy just didn’t give a fuck.
“Self Made Man” was another of the new songs that shined. It had this sort of Charlie Brown uptempo keyboards featured, which added a little extra depth. Mosseri would break a string midway through the set and call into the crowd for one of the earlier performers to lend them a guitar to finish out the set.
The group played a trio of songs from their 2012 debut full-length record Midnight Flowers that people seemed to be waiting on. “Black Water” and “All Tied Up” were two songs I remember standing out to me when I saw them years ago with not a clue who they were. I remember the latter especially reminding me of what Thom Yorke’s voice sounded like on some early Radiohead tracks, with a little of Damon Albarn mixed in.
“I Already Forgot Everything You Said” is the slow-burning anthem most people associate the band with, and they saved it for nearly the end. The packed crowd almost unanimously sang along to parts of it, with many swaying back and forth with their eyes closed, absorbing the tune.
“Jet Black Hair” was dedicated to all the brunettes in the crowd. There’s a certain soulfulness to the chorus as Baldwin exclaimed, “Ohhh, baby, there’s no one else” – it sort of sounded like something the Gorillaz would play.
This band sounds so good live that I’d gladly stand next to a dumpster like I did in 2013 to watch them again. Catch The Dig next time they’re near your town.