review by Katy McCourt-Basham
photos by Hilary Harris
The first band that hit the stage was Those Darlins of Murfreesboro, TN. The band is comprised of quite a collection of characters: one punk-ish girl (originally from Olympia), one sparkly hipster-esque girl, and one ‘girl next door’-type dressed completely in black…not to mention a drummer that looked straight out of the early 70’s, with mutton chops and a tight American flag muscle tee — needless to say, they made quite an impression. These eclectic characters came together to create a great, cohesive sound. Their sound was heavily based in some sort of combination of indie pop/Americana, with hints of punk, and a definite southern flair. Their set was fun, and they had a lot of personality, playing songs silly and serious, such as “Do You Lie Or Die,” a song about drunk driving, in which they chant “I got a DUI.”
Next on the roster was Hacienda. Hailing from Texas, these beardy fellows played a really enjoyable set of their own music before coming back on to support Dan Auerbach. Their sound varies from sort of bluesy country-rock, to an early Kinks-esque 60’s feel. The set was a lot of fun, and the musicians very engaging. They played some songs from their latest album, which was produced by Dan Auerbach (During Dan’s in-studio, Hacienda told KEXP that they call him their “Danager”), including the old-fashioned sounding “Hear Me Crying.” They finished the set with “Mama’s Cookin’,” a song that even the most stoic of Seattle’s notorious audience members dancing.
Hacienda came back onstage to support Dan Auerbach for his set. Dan began with “Trouble Weighs a Ton,” the first track from his new album Keep It Hid. I had listened to Keep It Hid a fair amount before I saw Dan play, and the album definitely does not do his voice justice. On stage, his rich, soulful voice really shines; it has a lot of power that just isn’t conveyed in his recordings.
The songs he played really showed off his versatility as a singer as a musician, from the lighter, folky sound of “Trouble Weighs a Ton,” to the raw, powerful almost old-school R&B sound of “The Prowl,” to the Buddy Holly-inspired feel of “Street Walkin’,” there was never a dull moment (or a still foot) during the set. Hacienda and Auerbach make a great match (and it’s not just the beards). Dante, of Hacienda, harmonizes beautifully with Dan’s voice and bluesy sound. The set was on the longer side, but one of the most enjoyable I’ve seen in several months.
Dan played almost every song from his album, starting slow, and building up the set to a dancing frenzy. The audience, a more diverse and oddly polite group than I see at most Seattle shows (with audience members ranging from people that looked like they could, and would, kick my ass, to young kids, to hipsters, to people that looked like my dad), seemed to be having a great time, no doubt helped by Dan seeming to have a blast himself.
He finished his set with an encore that included “Goin’ Home,” a sweet little song about going home after doing everything one could ever want to do, and what seemed to be a cover of “You Really Got A Hold On Me” (though I didn’t quite catch on until the end). This concert was one of the best overall shows I’ve seen thus far this year. Definitely catch Dan Auerbach on tour if you get a chance.
Dan Auerbach and Hacienda will be playing a few shows at SXSW before heading to Australia and Europe in May.