View more photos in Timothy Norris' "Dios @ The Troubadour" slideshow.
At long last ending a four-year gap between albums, Hawthorne psych-rock quartet Dios celebrated the release of its third LP at the Troubadour on Tuesday by opening the venue's doors to all comers free of charge.
WEAREDIOS came out earlier that day on Buddyhead Records, showcasing a band more united than ever, and wholly unafraid to dive down the rabbit hole in search of a better trip. Playing to an intimate and enthusiastic crowd dotted with L.A. music-makers, Dios made good on this promise.
After solid opening sets from Signals -- the lone band left standing following the high-drama breakup of spazz-pop crew The Mae Shi -- and Glendale's Henry Clay People, who closed with its still-searing 2008 track "Working Part Time," Dios took the stage on a gust of black wind. "Epileptic Tunnel Visions," WEAREDIOS' first track, was a harmony-strung thing of gorgeous atmospherics. The band's lineup had swelled to seven -- adding two female vocalists and a percussion station to its guitar-bass-keys-drum lineup -- and was able to indulge its proggiest inclinations as a result.
Still, Dios never sacrificed subtlety in the name of sheer instrumental might. Packing its set with tight but expansive new songs -- including one from the next album -- the group came across as a blackened and bluesier version of Flaming Lips, exploring existential crises over a shifting soundtrack of hallucinatory pop. "I Don't Want To Marry You" balanced catchy Black Lips-style jangle against slow-motion calliope music. "Don't Be Afraid" employed whirring organ and whistling ladies to round out its rolling "Tomorrow Never Knows"-like psychedelia. "It Will Feel Good" vacillated between pretty, spare moments and thick, narcotic melancholy.
Only three old songs made it into the mix. 2005 B-side "I See The Light" and "Nobody's Perfect," from Dios' 2004 eponymous debut, each benefited from the expanded lineup, and sounded at home alongside the newer tracks. A third came in the form of a Beck cover: "Feather In Your Cap," which was rescued from obscurity two years ago via the Odelay Deluxe Edition reissue. Recent Dios single "I Feel Finite" followed shortly thereafter -- fitting as it seems to cop a melody or two from Mutations.
Toward the end of the night, singer Joel Morales made an announcement: "This is our last song. It's about 10 minutes and it's actually from our next record, so... lemme know what you think at the end." Dubbed "Dungeons" on Morales' personal setlist, the song was a desert epic that, in time, brought to mind both OK Computer and Ennio Morricone's soundtrack work. Which isn't to say it's as grand as either, but Dios dares to dream, and we, verily, shall follow this long underrated group wherever it'll take us.
Especially when there's a guy in the wings with an overhead projector and a plate of red goop providing visuals.
"Epileptic Tunnel Visions"
"I Don't Want To Marry You"
"Don't Be Afraid"
"It Will Feel Good"
"I See The Light"
"Feather In Your Cap"
"I Feel Finite"
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"See How They Run"
"Man In Me"