Diane Coffee gives the kind of live performances you talk about for weeks after seeing. It’s not that the band tears up the stage. There’s no elaborate light show or other orchestrated theatrics. The main attraction — and the reason you’ll want to watch and hear more — is Diane Coffee’s fantastically flamboyant lead singer, Shaun Fleming.
Conjuring both Mick Jagger and David Bowie, Fleming swaggers and shimmies on stage. He strikes playfully defiant poses, hands on hips, while his face does its own dance, with wildly exaggerated expressions: raised brows, eyes wide open, mouth enunciating every word. Not bad for someone known primarily as the drummer in Foxygen.
For the first half of this Tiny Desk performance, Fleming remained relatively restrained behind the mic, strumming an acoustic guitar. The band opened with “Spring Breathes,” a sprawling showpiece with so many change-ups it feels like an entire album’s worth of music, followed by the melancholy and soulful “Not That Easy.” Both cuts are from Diane Coffee’s sophomore full-length, Everybody’s A Good Dog.
But for the second half of the set, Fleming put down the guitar and let himself off the leash, gyrating and wildly gesturing to the crowd as he belted out the words to “Mayflower.” By the end of the song, Fleming was winded, panting and gulping water, trying to catch his breath before closing with the girl group-inspired “Green,” from Diane Coffee’s 2013 debut, My Friend Fish. In the end, Fleming and the rest of Diane Coffee had left it all on the Tiny Desk floor — in as much as anyone can when performing for a roomful of people working at computers.
- “Spring Breathes”
- “Not That Easy”
Producers: Robin Hilton, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Colin Marshall, Julia Reihs; Production Assistant: Kate Drozynski; Photo by Jun Tsuboike/NPR
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