CMW Review: DIANA09 May 2014 / by Candice Ng (author)
After a strange and eclectic performance of whispered tea-making by ASMR Buds, DIANA took the stage at the Drake Underground on May 8 as fans gathered around in anticipation. Lead singer Carmen Elle announced that for their "Dig Deep" set that the would be doing improvisations of their songs off the album, which was nowhere near a big enough warning for what was to come.
The set began with a long droning intro of ambient noise. After a couple minutes, Elle sang a couple lines from their track "Perpetual Surrender." The instrumental was near unrecognizable. Next, DIANA played "Curtains", the final song off their record, which was a solely instrumental song, and was easily recognized by fans. DIANA moved on by doing a cover of Brian Eno, and then finishes their set with a few more experimental improvisations of their songs, including "Born Again." There were plenty of saxophone and guitar trills, accompanied by lulling bass lines and a menagerie of ambient sounds. Despite only having sang a few lines during the entire show, Elle's voice was angelic and was accompanied by the tea-making ladies whose voices were equally lovely.
However, you would have had to be in a certain mood to actually enjoy the show. It's no doubt that some of the audience left feeling disappointed that the set sounded nothing like the record. I, myself, felt that way as well. But if you had put those expectations away in the beginning of the show and sincerely just tried to listen, there is an ethereal masterpiece-like quality behind it. The set was certainly a close-your-eyes-and-just-let-the-music-carry-you type of deal.
If this interpretation wasn't quite for you, DIANA will be performing again at the Drake Underground on May 9 at 10pm where they will rework their songs drawing on electronica, techno and house music for inspiration. If you're looking for a straight play-through of their album, I'm afraid you're out of luck.