DNCE, August 2016, O2 Academy Islington, Islington, London, United Kingdom


Friday 19th August 2016

O2 Academy Islington, Islington, London, United Kingdom

Kieran White/KWMEDIA

I’m gonna be incredibly honest here and say that I was really looking forward to this show having heard DNCE’s smash hit ‘Cake By The Ocean’ and also having read some pretty interesting articles about the band. This four-piece have been very fortunate to not only to have one of the biggest hits of summer 2016 but to also secure an incredibly loyal fanbase around the world.

This show was pre-V Festival and also pre-G-A-Y nightclub appearance in London which has played host to many intimate sets from performers like Lady Gaga so it was no surprise that both the band and the excitable crowd were buzzing this evening.

As I queued to enter, it became very clear that the audience ratio was probably 90/10 female with the majority of males being either boyfriends or fathers. Everyone was trying to get a good viewpoint of the show and especially its lead singer Joe Jonas (formerly of The Jonas Brothers).

Unfortunately, I missed the support act due to a ticketing issue which also meant that when I did enter the gig i had to stand at the back because it was so packed and it wouldn’t of surprised me it they had oversold it a little as the venue has been notorious for doing that in the past.

The lights went down and a long recorded intro bellowed ‘D… N… C…E!’ as they arrived onstage with their instruments and smiles. Kicking off the set with ‘Pay My Rent’ from their ‘SWAAY’ EP which is out now, bassist Cole Whittle laid down a funky bassline that wouldn’t be out of place in Kool and the Gang. Virtually everyone in that room knew the words and sang them back to Jonas who was wearing a shiny black jacket with the Playboy Bunny logo on the back.

The track ‘DNCE’ did have keyboard programmed horns but they blended well with Jack Lawless on drums and it proved that Whittle along with the rest of the band could sing which is quite rare nowadays.

New track ‘Body Moves’ was something that hadn’t been played live very much but is definitely a track that will become a live favourite over time as Lawless lays down a real pulsating groove which made this a highlight of the evening. Joe then accepted a gift from an audience member which then triggered off a loud rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ as it was his birthday a few days earlier.

‘Naked’ got the crowd dancing whilst some dads were trying to locate their young daughters to intercept them from the crowd. It reminded me of the Bee Gees ‘You Should Be Dancing’ with its electronic disco vibe. What happened next as Jonas began the classic ‘Roxanne’ really surprised me as everyone in that room knew this hit by The Police despite the demographic being relatively young.

Whittle jumped into the audience with his bass and ran to the bar to dance on the tables as the crowd’s energy just kept increasing. ‘Hands To Myself’ was a clever re-working of a Selena Gomez song and seemed appropriate given that they had announced earlier in the day that DNCE would support her on some of her November 2016 UK tour dates.

‘Gonna Be A Good Day’ was a feelgood song that had a positive and summery vibe. I predict that this will become a favourite in DNCE’s future live shows.

‘Jinx’ was a heartfelt number that electric guitarist JinJoo Lee really excelled on as the room was lit up by people’s mobile phones and the glitterball began spinning around. Interestingly, before joining DNCE Lee was the guitarist in Cee Lo Green’s live touring band which would explain why she a really cool playing style.

Jonas made a moving selfie video on his phone for their new single ‘Toothbrush’ which this week has received extensive radio airplay on not only the national radio stations but also on the local as well. It is your classic sexy pop song that is really hooky and completely to the original Jonas Brothers sound.

For me, it was when Lawless really grooved on James Brown’s ‘Sex Machine’ that made me smile. When I was eight years old my dad took me to see James Brown live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London as it was known then and I was in absolutely awe of the Godfather of Soul when he performed this. It brought back very good memories for me.

However, when that  familiar bass kicked in a sea of camera phones appeared during their single ‘Cake By The Ocean’ which has really taken the United Kingdom by storm this year. It is a cheeky and fun song that just puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step and when the houselights everyone was really buzzing about the exciting set they’d just witnessed.

What I really love about DNCE though is that although they are being marketed as ‘pop’ band and all of the members have a pop music background they are really more of a funk band like Earth, Wind and Fire or Chic featuring Nile Rodgers and it is incredibly refreshing to hear something in the top 40 that isn’t squeaky clean and manufactured. I would love to see a co-headline tour of DNCE and Mayer Hawthorne or someone else of a similar funky ilk.

Glenn Sargeant 

DNCE’s new EP ‘SWAAY’ is out now on Republic Records. Their new single ‘Toothbrush’ is out now. In addition, DNCE will be returning to the UK as very special guests to Selena Gomez’s ‘Revival’ Tour in November 2016 at the following venues: 

Thursday 3rd November 2016 – Manchester Arena, Manchester, United Kingdom  

Friday 4th November 2016 – The O2 Arena, London, United Kingdom

For more information visit DNCE’s official website here: http://bit.ly/2b7VYoN

(All photos are credited to Kieran White at KW Media. Many thanks to Evie Ranscombe and all of the team at Edge Publicity for all of their help with this article and all of their ongoing support)





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