LIVE REVIEW: Those Darlins @ Annandale Hotel, Sydney 16/12/10

written by Chris Familton

A virtually empty Annandale greeted Melbourne’s Puta Madre Brothers meaning the latecomers missed out on a pretty interesting and unique trio. All seated, all playing kick drums and cymbals and all playing guitars – the three military uniform clad musicians cut a striking image on stage and their music was a mad mix of rock n roll, mariachi and country stomp. There was comedy at work too which lent an air of novelty act to their set but not enough to detract from the rollicking music.

Jeff the brotherhood took the opportunity of a small crowd to tease us with threats that they would play a cerebral set rather than a heavy rock set and thankfully they settled for the latter once the punters shuffled forward to the stage. Dialing up a weird mix of stoner rock, indie pop and grunge they hit their guitar pedals and pummeled the drum skins with a mix of wild abandon and precision. The highlight of their all too brief set was Bone Jamm with its surf pop melodies and heady guitar rush and jangle.

Those Darlins cut a path that swings from country to garage rock and everywhere in between. The good news is that they didn’t settle too deeply into either extreme, instead mixing things up with femme strut and swagger and a healthy dose of part attitude. They swapped guitars and basses throughout the set while drummer Linwood Regensburg locked down the shuffling beats and between song banter and they showed they are a well drilled and tight band. The songs came thick and fast with solo and group vocals sounding like a cross between a country hay dance and the glam garage rock of The Runaways.

With a half full venue Those Darlins did a damn good job at getting the crowd involved and though their songs did blur together at times – not helped by a harsh and vocally quiet sound mix – they showed enough across their whole set to justify the buzz that surrounded them before their Australian tour. They finished their main set with a great cover of Johnny Kidd’s Shakin’ All Over which shifted the emphasis from Elvis innuendo to a more sultry, yet still rocking mood. It was a good example of how rock, punk and country can work together without conjuring up the dreaded crossover tag.

this review first appeared in Drum Media

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