The last time I’d seen Darling, the boys were playing The Hideout in support of their debut LP, the outside temp was a hell of a lot warmer and I was just getting used to what 24 felt like. The guys were sandwiched between two local acts, Tin Tin Can and Rachele Eve, and Rachele, I recall, stole the show.
In the time that has passed between then (September 16) and now, I’ve taken a real liking to Darling’s sound. So much so that when I finally get my act together and compile a list of my favorite albums of the year, Lights That Last Forever will make the cut. The boys are a quirky gem that few in the city have lent their ears to.
To say I was excited for their show at Double Door is slightly an understatement. I mean, Saturday marked my first time at the venue, so that’s a plus right there. Even better, I was anxious to see whether the guys had progressed at all. And if so, by how much.
Well. Let me be the first to say — if a critic out there hasn’t already taken the liberty — that Darling has developed into a solid Chicago act from that Hideout show. And I enjoyed, pretty thoroughly I might add, their Hideout show.
One thing they had going for them Saturday night — a bit outside their control, you see — is that Double Door is a decidedly better venue for these guys. It’s larger, of course, but that has little to do with it. I was more impressed with the club’s sound, which amplified Darling’s tunes anywhere between dandy and YES! Darling sounded solid, and I wanna say some credit is due to Double Door’s superior system.
What excited me the most, though, was their stage presence. In particular, this pertains to Jeff Schneider (stage right on the promo photo), who refined his movements from last time ’round to something more in line to what rockers really do. Or, what I’d like to think rockers really do.
It’s interesting, actually, because just this afternoon I shared an exchange with a friend over lunch on the importance of, well, stage presence. Specifically, why a lot of bands at work today don’t give two shits about it. My argument (simplified, of course) was that young groups don’t think they have time for stage presence. They’re stubborn, and would rather work on sound before performance. Which is fine — until folks call them out on their stiffness. These bullheaded fools (again, the music makers) are probably the same ones who think they’re “too cool” for social media and the power of the Internet.
To get back on track here, I was enthused by Darling’s activity under the lights and wished to make my thoughts on it pretty pronounced here.
As before, my favorite song on the night was “Feels the Same,” which comes from an earlier Darling album I don’t have. I like to think of it as the group’s anthem for no better reason than it sounding excellent live. Well that, and the fact that Jeff and his pals look like they have a ton of fun playing it. It’s quite a bit of energy packed into four minutes of song.
For more on Darling, check out some of our reviews below. In addition to recaps of Lights That Last Forever and their record-release show, be on the lookout for a special post by Darling’s Jeff Schneider! He’s working on a guest show review exclusively for us and we couldn’t be happier about it.
- Check out my review of Lights That Last Forever and my review of Darling’s record-release show at The Hideout in September!
- Lights That Last Forever is available in vinyl+mp3 ($15), CD ($10) or mp3 ($10) on Cardboard Sangria.