Set times are fickle things, by which I mean that the doors typically open on a venue a good hour before the first band is set to go on stage, and subsequently I’m left leaning awkwardly against a pillar in the middle of a fairly empty, beer-scented (and other-scented) room getting eyed by the other oddballs who came early. Can you say concert nerd? It’s really uncool guys. So I take out my notepad and my camera from its holster to demonstrate what I’m here to do and why I’m here so early. I ended up leaving on the evening of March 25th to get dinner with a colleague and by the time we returned No had already taken the stage and then we had to be those uncool people who elbow and jostle their way to the front of the stage. Sorry, everyone who was stabbed by my elbows.
No had a relatively quiet stage presence, but their lead singer had some very badass and cocky personality, while still maintaining a level of undeniable charisma. The band hails from LA, and is able to interlay melodies and harmonies with incredible technical skill and forethought in their emotion-driven music.
Reuben and the Dark also had the four guitars that No used to optimize on layered and textured sound during their set, but added a drum pad to their set to add yet another layer as well as a banjo (an instrument that will always have a very special place in my heart). Modern elements lead Reuben and the Dark from the folky realm of such bands as Mumford and Sons to a newer form of music, more approachable and applicable, while still maintaining its obviously strong roots in folk music.
The Darcy’s kicked off the set with some under-the-breath cursing due to some technical difficulties with the guitar sound, and to watch the band from backstage indicates a level of arrogance that comes with the knowledge that you’re good at something, so I don’t judge the language. Vocally, the band was quite surprising, hitting the high notes as well as those vocals that lie in typical vocal range. With no backing track, what you see is what you get, what you hear live is what’s played on the track, which is not typical of modern indie bands and allows for the sound to remain unchanged from the venue to the home. It also means more instruments and more set up, but results in a rounder sound and indicates a level of delicacy in composition that many bands lack. Even though most audience members might not notice the difference, it is extreme and sublime, and perhaps they do recognize without realizing, taking the full, sexy sound as unique, which it is. With traditional and electronic instruments used such as vocal distortion and echo, The Darcy’s bring a level of originality to indie rock that has not reached this level of popularity for years.