Spine-Tingling Harmonies And Instrumentation Filled The Armory To The Rafters
I was nearly giddy with anticipation as I headed to Arts at the Armory to see two of my favorite bands. The headliner was Darlingside performing the first release show for their latest album, Birds Say. Opening for them was Laney Jones and the Spirits.
I was first in line to get through the doors, but fast at my heels were fans of one of the bands. They both became fans of the other band by the end of the show!
Their new album, which was released two weeks before this show, is fabulous. Easily recognizable by their fans, the songs feature more of the three- and four-part harmonies we have come to love in addition to their dazzling instrument-playing.
The band members are Auyon Mukharji on mandolin and fiddle, Harris Paseltiner on cello and guitar, Dave Senft on bass and guitar, and Don Mitchell on guitar and banjo with all contributing lead as well as backing vocals.
They all contribute wonderful humor, too! Auyon (pronounced oy’-un) delivered a routine about showing strangers photos of his bandmates and asking who was in the photo. I wish I remembered the responses, but they were funny! They also used humor when introducing each other to the audience. They are obviously intelligent men who have figured out another way to entertain their fans.
One of their new songs is titled ‘Harrison Ford’; it is a great tune that I hope gets the attention of Mr. Ford (I tried through an actor I know – don’t give up hope, Darlingside). All of the songs on Birds Say are terrific so I cannot name my favorite one (okay, maybe ‘My Gal, My Guy’).
Their music is Americana with some traditional bluegrass styling at least in terms of their instrumentation (although the band’s Facebook page uses Indie Folk as a descriptor). Darlingside is a band that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.
They use a Grand Ole Opry mic and dance around it throughout their set, switching positions based I think on which man is singing lead. Their choreography (which I am sure is not truly choreographed) is fun to watch.
Their set included most of the songs from the new release along with songs from previous releases, much to the delight of the crowd. When they returned for the encore, they were facing the curfew forced on the venue so they came into the audience and played ‘Blow the House Down’ unamplified. What a terrific way to end the show – they truly blew the lid off the house as quietly as they could!
Their energy and synergy are obvious at their live shows, and that chemistry is felt by their audiences. I dare anyone who sees one of their shows to walk out of the venue without a huge smile. The first time I saw them – on a blazing hot day at a free arts festival in 2013 – I walked away saying I had found my new favorite band. My opinion has not changed. Not only are they all excellent musicians, they are also really nice people.
Laney Jones and the Spirits delivered a fantastic opening set. Okay, I may be biased since they are friends of mine. Based on the reaction of the women I befriended when we were waiting to get into the venue, however, I am not alone in my love of this band.
Laney Jones on banjo, ukulele, guitar, and lead vocals; Matthew Tonner on guitar, xylophone (first time I saw him play one), and backing vocals; Tre Hester on bass and backing vocals; and JJ Jones on drums comprise the band.
Laney has an amazing voice and stage presence. She has been told by none other than Alison Krauss that she ‘can’t wait to see where Laney goes in this business.’ I feel the same, and have felt that way since I heard her demo CD for her audition at Berklee College of Music (yes, she was accepted).
They call their style retro majestic. Whatever you want to call it, they are worth putting on your radar. They will not be playing small venues for much longer.
They have recorded a new album slated to be released this winter; it should include the song ‘Allston (Dance Around)‘ which is my favorite of the new material I have heard. After that, I am sure there will be a major tour where you can catch them in a city near you.
This was an evening of exceptional music. I intend to see both bands every chance I get – I love walking out of a show grinning from ear to ear for hours after it ends!
Thanks to Darlingside and Laney Jones and the Spirits for the ticket; all opinions are my own.
Posted on October 13, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Arts at the Armory, Auyon Mukharji, boston, concert photos, concert review, Darlingside, Dave Senft, Don Mitchell, Harris Paseltiner, indie folk music, JJ Jones, Laney Jones and the Spirits, Matthew Tonner, music, retro majestic music, Tre Hester. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.