By: Derek Jung
With all of the personalities in Foxygen, highlighted by the bombastically eccentric Sam France, there's little attention paid to the man behind the drum kit. Shaun Fleming, who actually had to learn to play drums for Foxygen, takes front and center as the lead singer and guitarist of Diane Coffee, and the influences of his Foxygen counterpart become apparent very quickly. Fleming's energetic, almost schizophrenic stage show has flashes of France, but also David Bowie, and Kevin Barnes (of Montreal). His eyes were masked in silver, glittery face paint and his lips were similarly done; his pre-show attire included a Where's Waldo-esque red and white striped slacks, and on stage he wore a glitter tasseled top. The focus was definitely on Fleming, as the rest of his bandmates were dressed normally, and he proved that he is a formidable frontman in his own right. In fact, I enjoyed his performance much more than I did France. Fleming's vocals are something to be marveled at, and his control is masterful in conveying each song's emotions to the audience.
In the hour that Diane Coffee graced the small MOTR Pub stage, the band played through a whirlwind of songs from their two albums, including a good selection from last year's Everybody's a Good Dog, one of my favorite albums of 2015. While the songs were not nearly as flushed out live, especially without the female backing vocals on some of the songs (although Fleming's bandmates did a good job filling in), the performance itself was tight, in-sync, and the band was obviously having fun. At one point, Fleming's mic stand flopped over and someone in the front held it back up and tightened it for him while everyone on stage was either smiling or laughing. Fleming mouthed a gracious thank you to the fan and continued the song.
Speaking of fans, they came out in droves for a Wednesday night show starting at 11PM. The pub was packed to capacity (the doorman estimated around 300), and there was a line of people outside waiting to get in for a while after the show started. The doorman also mentioned to me that the show was supposed to be at the larger capacity Woodward Theater across the street, but there was a mix up. In a way, I'm thankful that the show was at MOTR, as I don't think they'll ever be in a space that small again.
Watch a video of Diane Coffee performing on NPR's Tiny Desk Show with a string quartet.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: