As their 30-plus date North American tour came to a close, The Darcys gave an passionate and inspired show April 8 at Mississippi Studios. The acclaimed Toronto alternative band's 50-minute performance soundly confirmed why they received a JUNO nomination, Canada’s Grammy, for Alternative Album of the Year, while vying for honors with indie luminaries, Arcade Fire. Based on their concert performance and new album, Warring, one can only imagine the voting must have been much closer than you’d think.
On tour with Arts & Crafts' label mates Reuben and the Dark and NO, The Darcys featured seven new tracks from their third full length release. Since last September, the band has been actively on the road. And despite their visit to Mississippi Studios being their last show of the tour, you’d never have guessed based on the intensity of their performance.
Once the easy going Northerners plugged in, the venue was filled with their dramatically imaginative alternative rock. Fronted by lead vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Jason Couse, and his co-pilot, guitarist keyboardist and vocalist Michael le Riche, the two sang with resounding choral of harmonies that weaved through their impressive set of songs. Completing the atmospheric ensemble was the bounding bass of Dave Hurlow and the propulsive drumming of Wes Marksell.
The Darcys started with Hunting, a new track lead by charging drums and synthesizer before making way for Couse’s soaring falsetto. The song bridges into an angular, distorted guitar riff while Couse’s vocals drop into his nature tenor and le Riche’s backing vocals ascended above. The tempo kept charging with the compelling Pretty Girls. Next was the dreamy, flowing Itchy Blood and it’s somber tale of yearning desperation, seductively twisting and turning to the end.
The band reached back to their self-title debut, performing a somber Shaking Down The Old Bones. The song slowly gathers momentum behind the distinct bass and drums intro, leading to Couse’s hymn-like singing that’s accompanied by le Riche’s floating backing vocals.
Pausing briefly, the tempo and temperament shifted into three more polished numbers from Warring. First was the aerial excursions of 747s highlighted by Couse’ and le Riche beautifully balanced vocal ending. Next track was the plush rhythm of Horses Fell, ending with the stark and haunting resonance of Lost Dogfights.
It’s no surprise The Darcys have received so much attention and recognition since the release of Warring. As their musical vision continues to flourish with sophisticated compositions, their live performance are infused with a dramatic surge and fueled by a vibrant intensity, making their songs crackle with undeniable energy.
As the long tour came to an end for the well travel band, they surely have gained a new group of fans. Expect to hear plenty more in the future, and don’t miss The Darcys the next time they played Portland. It’s unlikely the will be playing a small club in Portland the next time they visit.