LP: Screws Get Loose by Those Darlins
2011 Oh Wow Dang Records OWD 003, White vinyl
Favorite Track: Be Your Bro
LP: Blur the Lines by Those Darlins
2013 Oh Wow Dang Records OWD 009A
Favorite Track: In the Wilderness
The faded red marker smear on my right hand looks like a kiss. It was an admission to Those Darlins’ Farewell Tour at the Northside Tavern. The atmosphere was loose, unflagging, and not a bit maudlin. This was a celebration of the past and the future; a goodbye, but not a permanent one. Just one of the hundreds of goodbyes you have with friends and family before you pick up your suitcase and step on board the train. Everything feels like it is made of string and that they are loosening, but much of the future is going to look the same. I, for one, cannot wait to see what these three incredibly talented musicians (and artists!) do next. I’m already a fan.
I love a good live show. It is reflected in my karaoke stage presence; contort yourself! Music can be about many things, but to play it is to get something off of your chest, to free it and let it go. Sweat is required. I’ll take a few sloppy chords or missed notes to watch people roll on the ground with guitars any day. And nothing makes a live show more memorable than two excellent opening acts. The first was Slippery Lips, a fast, full of attitude punk band that charged the place with anthems and stage antics. The lead singer had a nest of bright colors that spilled over her face as she switched from coy to rage into the microphone. The guitarist strummed a black electric guitar covered in stickers that read “TV made me what I am today”, which goes to show how serious they took themselves.
Before the next act, I saw my friend talking to Linwood from Those Darlins. I sidled up to him and found myself talking about Essential Logic and other bands that we shared in common interest. Then Jessi walked by and I awkwardly thanked her for the Poly Styrene portrait she painted for me. Next thing I know, all of my friends and I are having a pleasant conversation about records, punk rock, playing shows at the public library and art. I have always appreciated how down-to-earth and friendly Those Darlins are. I’m sure I sounded like a weirdo, but, somehow, I think that is alright.
The second group was called Tristan and they played very beautiful music. I definitely have seen one of their albums at ShakeIt before. They threw in a cover of Television’s “See No Evil” which brought a wide smile to my countenance. A sizeable crowd had gathered now so I had to push myself a little bit to the front of the stage. It dawned on me just how small of a stage it really is. Could it handle Those Darlins? I was about to find out.
The stage held up, but it is probably complaining of a sore back today. My friends and I are always a bit rowdier than normal (where being rowdy is pretty much the baseline of normal) when Those Darlins play and last night was no exception. The songs danced through us inciting primitive and ritualistic movements. Stage lights flashed on the toothy grins of the crowd howlin’ and singing along. We could have been summoning demons, but we were exorcising our sadness of seeing a really great band call it quits. I danced with many people. Some of them may have thought that I needed to go to the bathroom. I own awkward dancing. Nikki in her stylist white suit jacket commanded the audience with her vocal prowess and intense stare during “Shakin’ All Over”. The audience went mad with screams and reaching hands. They played many of my favorite songs last night, but the stand out was the encore jam session of the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat”. I didn’t see that one coming and it reinforced my dream to build a time machine to travel back to the late 60’s and 70’s to watch my favorite bands preform in their prime (or their snotty drunken stumbling excuse of a band).
Afterwards, the DJs spun excellent soul deep-cuts. I continued my freak attempts of spinning my body and twisting the night away a la Sam Cooke. I bought two albums, my head full of bourbon now, and I impinged upon kindness and asked for autographs. I didn’t even bring a Sharpie, but wonderful people kept pulling them out of nowhere. Maybe next concert, I’ll sell Sharpies on the side for some extra cash.
Elated, I left with a kiss on my cheek. The faded red marker smear on my right hand looks like a kiss. It was an admission to the end of an excellent night, the start of a beautiful day.
Now to prepare for a night of listening to David Bowie at the library.