Technically speaking, Darlingside is not a Nashville band, but every once and a while a publication comes across an email in its spam folder that’s filled with such rapier wit that the copy can’t help but be picked up, for sheer power of sardonicism alone (and the fact that Darlingside’s playing The High Watt this Thursday, 10/6).
Touring in support of their ephemeral 2015 release, Birds Say, and recently released B-sides collection, Whippoorwill, Darlingside are the idyllic Twain-ian/Whitman-esque amalgamation of conversational wit and musical solemnity, as they’ve managed to meld their striking harmonies with deft lyrical prowess all the while maintaining the presence of mind to crack a joke at any given moment.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts folk quartet paint pastoral scenes of suffering and intimate exchanges long since gone, but as mentioned earlier, don’t let their lyrical woe predispose you into thinking the group lives for self-indulgent melancholia; no! The band is razor sharp when it comes to wit and musical prowess, which is to say, it would be well within one’s best interest to see their 10/6 set at the High Watt.
If such an endorsement still hasn’t managed to sway you into venturing out into the void come Thursday evening, perhaps someone more ironical could persuade you into catching Darlingside’s set. Luckily for you, one such person – Darlingside’s Don Mitchell – happened to provide L/S with his non-Nashivllian’s guide to Nashville, which turns out to be an impressively up to date take to our forever gentrifying city.
Darlingside are playing at The High Watt with Frances Luke Accord on 10/6; Doors at 7, $16 DOS.
Don Mitchell of Darlingside’s Nashville Five
When your band stops in Nashville, you’re in for a treat. The kind of treat that only sheer inexperience, ignorance, and unpreparedness can produce. Here’s exactly how to do it:
- Arrive in town a few minutes late for a meeting with your label but spend a few irresponsible minutes wandering the aisles at Grimey’s New and Preloved Music anyway before heading upstairs to the offices. During the meeting, mention to the founder (who is notoriously competitive) that you are really good at table tennis. If he says that he is also really good at table tennis, contend that you would kick his ass but then quickly realize your error and try to back out of it.
- On your next visit to town, your bandmates will naturally have booked a table at Melrose Billiards where you will be forced to either eat your words in the most public way possible or potentially endanger your band’s relationship with the label. Choose wisely and be prepared to spend the next month getting the smell of old smoke out of your clothes.
- Next time, get one of your band members good and sick before you arrive in town. He will suggest through his sniffles that soup would be really comforting and warming in his weakened state, and you should convince him to try the Tom Kha at The Smiling Elephant. Order the Pad Thai and then rub it in when it turns out to be better than your sick friend’s meal.
- When you need to get work done in Nashville, attempt to get it done at 8th and Roast. You will really enjoy the coffee but so will the rest of town so there will be no space in which to get your work done. Head instead to Zollikoffee where the coffee is also great (have another coffee and regret it at your showfour hours later!) but for some reason no else wants to do their work so you’ll have a whole table to yourself most likely. While you’re at it, take a quick peek into Carter Vintage next door because you are in no way the kind of person who is susceptible to bad decision-making and instrument acquisition syndrome.
- On your off day in Nashville, bask in the glory of your less-underattended-than-last-time show by inviting all your cool Nashville musician friends to join you for a swanky cocktail at The Patterson House. Since this is not New York City, assume that it won’t be crowded and then make sure not to have a backup plan. They will be full to the gills and direct you to their new “sister bar” which is in a hotel. This won’t sound that great at first blush, but your friends will inform you upon arrival that this is so cutting edge that they didn’t know it was open yet and that Taylor Swift lives upstairs. Smugly enjoy your cocktail (you can’t afford a second one, so enjoy it slowly) and act like this was allllllll part of the plan.
(But seriously maybe don’t try to recreate these experiences because Melrose Billiards recently closed, the Thirty Tigers offices have moved, and we actually can’t even find the name of that crazy hotel bar so it might have been a figment of our imaginations in the first place)