Those Darlins at The Rhythm Room, 7-27-2011

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Those Darlins 
The Rhythm Room
Wednesday, July 27

Better Than: a "Snaggle Tooth Mama"

Ah, the South. Damn I miss it.

Geographically speaking, the southern states have produced some of the best music this country's ever heard--Buddy Holly, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, fucking Bo Diddley, Tom Petty, The Black Keys, hell, even The B-52s.

We could sit here for hours talking 'bout southern gems, and eventually we'd be so deep in a swampland of Confederate classics, we'd end up chugging moonshine from a mason jar and chain-smoking Bronco cigarettes just to make sense of it all.

But just what is it about Southern music that makes it so damn addictive?

Well, for starters, songs about screwin' and drinkin' are always fun, and those were plentiful last night at the Rhythm Room.

Jessi, Kelley, and Nikki "Darlin" are three Southern belles from Tennessee who, together with their male drummer, Linwood Regency, make up the rockabilly garage rock quartet Those Darlins.

I use the term "Southern Belle" loosely. In the traditional sense, the phrase conjures up images of old Southern money, and University of Alabama sorority girls -- the polar opposite of Those Darlins.

These girls are the reason Southern moms are incredibly overprotective of their sons. They're tattooed seductresses who favor fishnets over debutante ball gowns. The type of girls that'll lead you on with their flirty gazes, then break your heart when they jump on the back of a much cooler dude's motorcycle. And they don't apologize for it either.

Those Darlins' second song last night, "Be your Bro", is a warning, of sorts, to horny men. "I just want to, I just want to be your brother/you just want to be my boyfriend/I just want to run and play in the dirt with you/you just want to stick it in"

It's tough to not want to. For a little over an hour at a time each night on tour, Those Darlins open up, dragging you into their world, and building a certain level of temporary trust with the audience, that you can't help but fall in love.

From hillbilly hoedown ditties like "Hung Up on Me" to Nikki Darlins' raunchy comedy bits--"What did one saggy titty say to the other? If we don't get some support soon, people are going to think we're nuts" -- and vulnerable heartbreak songs like "Waste Away," Those Darlins cover the entire spectrum of alternative country, and sound incredibly tight doing so.

Regency's drumming is on par with the greats -- Sandy Jackson, Animal from The Muppets, Keith Moon. His fills are goddamn mesmerizing and supplement the girls' incredible guitar work beautifully (Nikki and Kelley switch on bass, while Jessi sticks with the guitar).

Last night's show ended with one of the best covers of "Shakin' All Over" I've ever heard. It featured Nikki on vocals, and she looked a lot better shakin' all over than Wanda Jackson did on her version.

It sent quivers down my backbone.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: I'm from the South.

The Crowd: A dude in a cowboy hat, fans of rock 'n' roll, New Times staffers, etc.

Overheard: "You have any pot?"

Set List (Not in Order):
"$ (Green in my Pocket)"
"Be Your Bro"
"Waste Away"
"Mystic Mind"
"Let U Down"
"Tina Says"
"Wild One"
"Hung Up on Me"
"Fatty Needs a Fix"
"Red Light Love"
"Screws get Loose"
"Fun Stix Party"
"The Whole Damn Thing"
"Shakin' All Over" (cover)

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