Those Darlins @ The Garrison – October 30, 2012

November 3, 2012 No comments
Written by Wini Lo

Photo by Wini Lo

Nashville, Tennessee is one of those American cities typically known for its output of country music artists and bands. To be fair, Those Darlins’ self-titled debut album did have its country sensibilities, but these days, they lean more on the gritty punky side than full-out country twang.

The “Summer’s Dead” Tour, in support of their split 7” single of the same name with tourmates Heavy Cream (also from Nashville), landed in Toronto the night before Halloween.  The band had been forced to cancel their show in Allston, MA the night before on the account of bad weather due to Hurricane Sandy.

Opening with “Summer’s Dead,” Those Darlins wasted no time in getting the audience roused for dancing and hip shaking. Lead singer/guitarist Jessi Darlin was energetically front and centre, belting out her distinct vocals like a country-punk rock Wanda Jackson. Guitarist Nikki Darlin (yes, they take their band name as a surname, much like the Ramones) provided backup vocals and occasionally took the lead with her husky, alto vocals – most memorably with her sexy, breathy purr and wail on “Night Jogger.” Drummer Linwood also sang backup vocals and bassist Spencer rounded out the four-piece. Towards midnight, Jessi announced that Spencer’s birthday was October 31 – which was shortly followed up with a round of celebratory shots.

The set list was chock-full of high-energy songs, mostly from their second album, Screws Get Loose. While Jessi was a livewire, shaking her curly hair wildly, and widening her eyes dramatically as she moved around the stage, Nikki smoldered to Jessi’s right. She remained slightly in the shadows, occasionally moving to the edge of the stage, letting her hair cover her eyes. Both women exuded a sensual fierceness, and at times, it was like seeing two Joan Jetts rock out on stage.

Highlights of the show included “Funstix Party,” “Hives,” “Mystic Mind,” another Nikki-sung tune “Pet You and Hold You” (a Rockpile cover) and the show-closer “Be Your Bro.”

Somewhat disappointingly, the band did not come back for an encore set despite cheers from the audience. Set lists from subsequent shows (Cleveland and Chicago) have reported of covers from Fleetwood Mac and The Ramones (!!) songs during their encores. Here’s hoping for a Ramones cover the next time Those Darlins come back to Toronto…


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