By: Carolyn Menyes, Interviews/Live Reviews Editor
Okay, so maybe it was a Wednesday night. And maybe I had two papers due the next day that I was only about 40% done with. And maybe I'd gotten only minimal sleep during the previous week. (Junior year is a killer, by the way.)
But! It was ladies' night at The Union. Duke Jr. opened, followed by Columbus's Lydia Loveless and then the stars of the night: Those Darlins. And there was no way I was going to miss one of my favorite bands playing in my favorite little college town. So, as the clock struck 10 p.m., I headed uptown to see the show and to be incredibly irresponsible.
But, I think I made the right choice.
After my male companion and I paid our expensive but justifiable $8, we cold hear the sweet sounds of local folk favorites Duke Junior and The Smokey Boots. They're one of the local acts I enjoy most and a consistently good time, so I was pretty stoked.
The group was certainly on-point on this Wednesday night. Playing to a semi-sparse crowd, Duke Jr. played a good bit of songs I didn't recognize, so I have to assume that they're off their upcoming album. The new direction is one of which I greatly approve. The songs are a little saucier and a little sexier but still maintain the folk-ish, country edge we all love about these guys. I missed about half their set, so I don't know how many older songs they played total, but they rocked out to the always pleasant "Travelin' Man," which had me stomping my pink boots.
Before I knew it, their set was over. After I took a quick step outside, Lydia Loveless was up. She was the act I was least interested in. I'd heard good things (apparently she's been reviewed by SPIN), and she did put on a good show, but that whole part of the evening is a bit muddled in my mind. I was mostly anxiously awaiting the arrival of Those Darlins to the stage and creeping to look for them in the crowd.
However, Loveless did still manage to entertain me, and I have no intention to imply she was boring or bad. Apparently, all her songs were relatively long, as she said, but they were good enough on every level that each individual song, and consequently her set, went by quickly.
At one point, two members of Duke Jr. were do-si-doing in the crowd, so my dear friend Hannah and I followed suit. And if any musician (especially one I'm unfamiliar with) makes me want to make an ass of myself in that manner, then they're a-okay.
Then, Lydia Loveless left the stage, and I got exponentially more excited. Those Darlins were up next! We made our way to the front of the stage, prepared for the insanity that was about to ensue. I'd seen Those Darlins a year-and-a-half ago at Nelsonville Music Festival, and ever since then, I've been aching to see them again.
They started off by playing "Be Your Bro," the first single off their latest album Screws Get Loose. This set the precedent for the evening, during which they played most, if not all, of their second record. The girl group vibes they mixed with their signature sassy southern sound is quite original and makes for a roaring good time.
However, that leads to my only real complaint about the evening: too much new stuff. To my memory, Those Darlins only played two songs off their eponymous debut, "Red Light Love" (as seen in those Kia commercials) and "Wild One."
Despite the new material, The Union was still hopping. Though the audience tended to hang back for Duke Jr. and Lydia Loveless, everyone crowded around the stage for the headlining act. Personally, I have never danced so much at a show before. My friend and I boogied and stomped our boots like there was no tomorrow (or more specifically, no classes tomorrow). We sang along to all the words we knew so well and had a concert experience that rivaled any show that rolls through Columbus.
Realistically, Those Darlins played for well over an hour, but their set flew by. Before we knew it, they thanked the crowd and got off the stage. But! This is where my life was made.
Post-show, I gave Kelley Darlin a thumbs up and told her they put on an awesome show. Apparently, since Hannah and I were shaking our tailfeathers and shouting along throughout the whole show, the band took notice. Kelley then thanked us for our participation and that they all appreciated it and then gave us hugs! And it was a glorious hug.
So, back out into the cold, concert-less fall we went. And even though it's only been a day, I'm totally anxious to see Those Darlins again.