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Concert Review: Those Darlins, The Grates and Chandails

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Although the Vivian Girls and Wavves don't come from the same coasts, their melodic surf pop music and close ties to Brooklyn-based label Woodsist/ Fuck-it Tapes can easily clump them together. For Those Darlins however, it's their nitty-gritty southern fried swing that makes them stand out in such a densely saturated Nashville scene that have them hanging out with southern neighbors the Black Lips. Both relationships somehow mirror each other, but thankfully there hasn't been a Vivian Girls vs. Those Darlins cat-fight just yet.

The night kicked off with one of my favorite up and coming local bands, Chandails. I have probably seen these boys play about a dozen times this year alone and I always find myself singing along and moving about with the crowd as their semi-nostalgic yet refreshingly inventive songs reminiscent of a young Abe Vigoda with a tinge of Modern Lovers cascade out of the PA. As talented as they are, Chandails are a group of (surprisingly) young dudes still in high school, yet their talent and their demeanor makes them seem far wiser than their age can show. They're modest too! It's always delightful to hear such a solidly great live band put whatever egos aside. "We were so sloppy tonight!" guitarist Jorge told me after their set. I am pretty sure these folks are just a tad hard on themselves as I have heard them say this after nearly every stellar performance.

Chandails were just the appetizer of the evening as Brisbane, Australia's sweethearts The Grates once again graced the Modified stage. They were in town as recently as a month ago, but came back to support the Darlins on their US tour. Lead singer Patience Hodgson decked out in a sequined leotard, herded concertgoers hanging out inside to join her in their cute and exuberant, sugar-sweet dance ditties. The Grates, whom I last saw perform in Arizona back on tour in 2005 supporting the Go! Team, seemed to have honed in on their live performance since I saw them last. There wasn't a single moment in the entire performance where Hodgson wasn't giving the somewhat sparse Sunday crowd 200%. A friend of mine, Norman Shamas, was also present at the show and was donning a hot pink, skin tight, wrestling leotard as he danced along with almost as much gusto as the adorable Hodgson whose smile lit up the gallery like Fourth of July fireworks. It was a match made in heaven:

By the time Those Darlins took the stage, Modified had seemed to fill out just a little bit more. Not quite reaching its capacity, the venue had filled in some of the gaps that prevented the openers from benefitting from an accumulation of body heat. With Modified properly warmed up, the Darlins took the stage in their varying costumes; from an aquamarine tutu to Indian feathers and raccoon tails, the Darlins rocked the house with the type of country rock music that your grandparents probably danced around the house to. Vocally, while not as dreamy and polished as the Vivian Girls, the Darlins were brash and bold. At a near snarl, Those Darlins sang tunes about how you shouldn't break their mothers' hearts because you'd be breaking theirs too- a sweet song that had an underlying threat that really said "If you break my mother's heart, I'll probably break your neck." While other tracks left you thinking that they had summonsed the likes of Patsy Cline, Woodie Guthrie, and Elvis, it were songs about loving fried chicken and cute boys that made the Darlins (while not something this reviewer is into), an entertaining spectacle of seriously badass southern girls who know the balance of catchy country songs with sweet guitar solos.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Chandails, The Grates, and Those Darlins @ Modified Arts.

Better Than: Spending your Sunday night at home with the flu.

Personal Bias: Chandails are just a wickedly solid local band...but they're super swell dudes too, so I guess my liking them as people could be called a bias.

Random Detail: Those Darlins are really from Murfreesboro, TN. Phoenix local Treasure Mammal aka Abe Gil was there on tour one time and was pretty convinced that the town was, or should have been called "MORE FRIES, BRO."





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