Concert Correspondent Morgan jaunted over to The Hamilton last week to catch folk group Darlingside. Check out her recap below!
I realized recently that most of the shows that I saw in 2015 fell pretty solidly in the electro-pop category. While I still enjoyed almost all of them, I decided that I should start to mix it up a bit in 2016. As usual, Bob Boilen and the good people at NPR Music had me covered. A couple of weeks ago, Bob Boilen recommended the video for Darlingside’s “God of Loss.”
The video is hauntingly beautiful and its imagery stuck with me for days. When I heard that Darlingside would be playing at the Hamilton, I jumped at the chance to go and see the band live. Hailing from Massachusetts, Harris Paseltiner, Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, and Dave Senft, specialize in some of the most beautiful and innovative arrangements that I have heard in years. Often their sound evokes folk or the rock of the 1960s, but according to the band’s bio on their webpage they don’t emphasize genre (beyond “no jazz”) when composing.
Their innovation and genre-bending sound is evident on their most recent album, Birds Say. While I love the album, seeing the band live added another dimension to their sound. Birds Say is at times haunting, nostalgic – the songs call back to childhood and are filled with reminders of the things we lose or forget as we grow up. Even songs like “Go Back,” inspired by Back to the Future or “Harrison Ford” (self-explanatory), which are infused with humor are also intensely personal at times. During the composition of the album, the band members visited each other’s childhood homes and there is something both personal and universal in each song. At times you are lost in someone else’s memory, and at other times it is easy to find yourself lost in your own.
For the last few days, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of a description of the show and I keep returning to: absolutely lovely. The band members have a great sense of humor and commentary on all of the songs was hilarious and added to the overall of fun of the show. Live, the beauty in the lyrics and arrangements are magnified. The band’s sound is more complex live – the lyrics some how more poignant, the arrangements more beautiful, and the overall sound was just, well, lovely.
I highly recommend Birds Say and will be first in line to see the band live the next time they are back in D.C.
(Also, if Harrison Ford is reading this, I echo the band’s request from Wednesday night and you should totally star in the music video. Or, Calista Flockhart, if you are reading this, maybe you could lobby on Darlingside’s behalf?)