Darlingside | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com
XPN Fest Recap: Darlingside brings harmonies and charm to the Marina Stage heat
It was the third song of Darlingside’s set. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based harmonizers were beautifully belting their “Good For You,” a song written about the band’s fascination with the places they visit while traveling. In that same spirit, the sounds of Darlingside were able to transport listeners as if they were on the road with the band themselves. And then, to draw everyone back to reality, the stench of porta-potty septic trucks filled the air — because port-potty septic trucks were driving right behind the Jerseyarts.com Marina Stage. It’s funny how timing works in this world.
Aside from that smelly moment, which Harris Paseltiner of Darlingside called “liberating,” the quartet brought the harmonies everyone expected. From high to low, their vocals journeyed to every extreme of pitch as their four mouths surrounded a singular microphone. Along with accompaniment from just about every stringed instrument you could ever desire (violin, mandolin, cello, electric bass, and both six and 12-stringed guitars), the four dudes of Darlingside were able to dazzle a highly packed Wiggins Park hill.
For those familiar with the band, especially since their 2015 album Birds Say garnered a good amount of attention, the musical talents observed today were not a surprise. And for those who had yet to catch Darlingside in person, such as myself, their personality expressed on stage was equally as impressive. First, there was their excitement after finishing up their lead-off song “The God Of Loss.” Paseltiner shouted into the mic, sharing how excited he was to be here (especially since their ride into town was in a van sans air conditioning). Then there was the septic truck moment. Oh, there was also the introduction of their adventurous song “Harrison Ford,” which is devoted to a “mentor” of theirs. Or when Don Mitchell said the wet towels and clapping made him feel like a boxer. And maybe most memorable, when Auyon Mukharji introduced his bandmates with citrus fruit-themed anecdotes and fun facts.
The WXPN faithful appreciated the humorous asides of Darlingside’s performance, but let’s be honest — they suffered through the baking sun because they wanted the music. Based on their reactions throughout the set, the crowd was more than pleased with what they heard. After several different songs, Darlingside was praised with an applause that is usually only saved for a final bow. And when that final bow actually came, they were hit with a standing ovation that roared with same genuinity of the harmonies that led to the ovation itself.
The God Of Loss
Good For You
Blow The House Down
My Gal, My Guy