It’s no surprise that all who attended the Grog Shop last Tuesday night to see Those Darlins, The Dexateens, and The Features had a blast. The sad thing though was the turnout for the evening and with tickets only $8 I really expected a bigger turnout. Nevertheless all the acts that night played just as hard as they would to a full crowd and I along with the handful of fans got our money’s worth.
Arriving early I had a picture perfect moment when Those Darlins came rounding the sidewalk outside of the Grog Shop. Clearly the ladies decided to check out their surroundings on a possible quest get a bite to eat and were returning to work. Respecting their privacy I kept the camera down and shyly smiled at them as they walked in the doors of the venue. I laughed when one of them screamed “blech!” as a Radiohead song greeted them when they entered. Not everyone can be a Radiohead fan I guess…
A couple of months ago Those Darlins had their first taste of Cleveland when they opened for Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys at a sold out show at the Beachland Ballroom. A nice size crowd greeted them as they took the stage. Sadly their return to Cleveland to play again had a crowd that barely made it to twenty. Still the sassy ladies of Tennessee did not let the lack of attendees kill their spirit and started playing through their songs at full force.
Ripping through tracks from their upcoming self-titled debut release Those Darlins played just as good, if not better, as the first time I saw them. Hearing “The Whole Damn Thing” cracked me up as the ladies sang about getting drunk and eating chicken. Other tracks like “DUI or Die”, “Snaggletooth Mama”, and “Wild One” seemed to get some of the folk sitting at the bar to turn their heads and pay attention to the three country cuties up on stage. Their mustache wearing drummer even had a moment when one of the toms on his kit fell off while playing. All of the girls laughed mid-song and continued to stomp their boots and play hard. Ripping through a nice sized set I could not help myself from getting excited when their album is delivered to my front door (I pre-ordered it).
I am sure Those Darlins were a tad frustrated with the small amount of people at the Grog Shop seeing they drove all the way up to play out, but thanks to their great set they won a few new fans and I am sure the next time they return to Cleveland there will be a much bigger crowd waiting to see them. I’ll do what I can to make sure that happens.
Not knowing the two other bands I decided to stick it out and see what each had to offer. Alabama’s The Dexateens took stage and it seemed like a few more people actually surrounded the stage as they played including the mustache clad drummer of Those Darlins. Some of the fans looked to have been friends of the band but still, fans are fans. The band’s mix of southern rock and folk really won me over and I made sure to pick up one of their vinyl albums from the merch booth just so I could check them out more.
The main act of the night, The Features, took stage to a very small welcoming crowd including a handful of folk who traveled all the way from Erie, PA just to see them. The Tennessee indie rock band played well but was not what I was looking for so I called it a night.
As I headed to the door I spotted Kelley Darlin sitting at the bar with one of the guys who works at the vintage shop below the Beachland Ballroom called This Way Out. I did not want to pass up the opportunity to thank her for playing Cleveland again and also wanted to tell her that she would be seeing me at Bonnaroo in less than a month. Kelley Darlin smiled from ear to ear and give me a high-five / handshake / hold hands type response that had me smiling too. She was a real pleasure to meet and I hope to see her again next month.
Yes, I have a crush on all three Darlins. So what!?!
I really wish that more folk would have come out the the Grog Shop that night not just because I felt that the band deserved a fuller crowd but also because I think a lot of people would have had a great time even if they never heard any of the acts before. Better luck next time to the bands and the fans I guess. I am just glad I was there.
Here are some photos I took of the evening:
Those Darlins at SXSW:
-Visit Those Darlins to pre-order a copy of their debut release. LP drops on 6/23/09 and the CD drops two weeks later on 7/7/09.
-The Dexateens are giving away one of their albums for free (donations accepted!)