Live Review: Those Darlins, Strange Boys, Gentleman Jesse; Black Cat; 9-15-10

If you don’t want your ass rocked off on a Wednesday night, don’t go see Those Darlins on their latest tour with the Strange Boys and Gentleman Jesse & His Men. While the overall small crowd might have fooled you at first sight, you know it’s been a full night of entertainment when the sound guy turns on the lights and tells the band that it’s time to call it a night.

Unfortunately, i missed the first bit of openers Gentleman Jesse & His Men, but let me tell you, what i heard was good stuff. While all three bands of the evening had an early rock vibe going on, GS&HM attach a nice, sped up, punk edge to their live sound, which kept the crowd rocking for their short set. Think early Elvis Costello. All in all, a great band to start the night, full of piss, vinegar and a winning stage presence. i’ll be interested to catch these cats the next time they hit the scene.

Second bill Strange Boys, while equally talented, didn’t seem to make quite the audience connection of the other two acts of the evening. This resulted in overly long pauses between songs filled with silence, requests from the band to turn on the house lights (to better see the crowd), and, quite frankly, an overall uneasiness. Sure, the music was great, adding their own touch of fuzz and Americana to that aforementioned ’50s rock vibe, but it certainly didn’t seem like the band was enjoying itself much on stage, which was a shame.

The crowd, obviously, was there to see Those Darlins, as the frenzied rush to the front of the stage at the start of their set attested. i’m not sure if i’ve ever seen that few people in the club that close to the stage, but there you have it. The ladies ran through predominantly new songs from their upcoming (“in the next few months”) LP and just released 7″. As i mentioned reviewing that 7″, the new sound is more ominous, spooky, sultry and dirty all at the same time. Sounds like the ladies have gone a bit swamp for this one. The band interacted effortlessly with the crowd, each member jumping into the crowd and playing frantically for extended periods, and the audience ate it up. Well, except for one ass hat that kept shouting, “You suck!,” but i got the feeling that was some inside joke with the band. If it wasn’t, well, that guy was a maroon. Apparently, it was family night, as Nikki Darlin brought her mom on-stage for a few numbers at the end, playing tambourine and seemingly having a blast. Those Darlins came back for two liquor fueled encores, and undoubtedly would have stayed longer had the bar staff not wanted to go home.

Those Darlins, they’re some wild ones, indeed.

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