Review: Darlingside – 12/05/18 – The Cluny, Newcastle


Bringing an easy-going atmosphere, pitch-perfect harmonies and heaps of musical talent all the way from Boston, four-piece indie folk outfit Darlingside proved to be a perfect fit for The Cluny…

Formed in 2009, their name refers to a quote from English writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (often attributed to other authors such as Ginsberg and Faulkner) – “Kill your darlings” – which advocates the importance of simplicity in great literary works.

They were supported by Hannah Read, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter born in Scotland who now resides in Brooklyn. Fresh off a new album release in February  ‘Way Out I’ll Wander.’ It features standout tracks such as ‘She Took a Gamble.’ Read set the tone for the evening with some beautifully arranged roots music given a distinctly contemporary spin.

Years of touring the globe with a variety of artists, including being part of UK folk supergroup Songs of Separation, has given her a very assured stage presence and she captivated the crowd throughout her intimate set.

As is the curse of all good support sets, Read’s seemed criminally short, but she received a great reception from the audience. She spent much of the night – when she wasn’t joining Darlingside for a brief onstage collaboration – chatting to fans and the newly converted alike by the merch table.

Before long, it was time for Darlingside to take the stage. The four musicians gathered around a single condenser microphone and dived straight into a track from their most recent album ‘Extralife’.

Throughout their set, the four members frequently switched up instruments – Don Mitchell switched between guitar and banjo, Auyon Mukharji took on the mandolin and violin, Harris Paseltiner alternated guitar and cello, while David Senft formed the backbone with bass and kick drum. All four of them shared vocal duties and, for a few tracks, Mitchell and Senft also took turns manning a synth that gave tracks a distinctly future-folk feel.

Every band member had a chance to interact with the audience, musing on everything from their newfound love of Lemsip to their time spent in Ouseburn Farm, enjoying the local area prior to the gig. Paseltiner has the air of a seasoned storyteller and his laidback delivery has you hanging on his every word, whether he’s talking about a burgeoning Fisherman’s Friend addiction or asking how to properly enunciate ‘Newcastle’.

Their set was a well-balanced mixture of swaying folk ballads (Whippoorwill & The God of Loss) and more energetic tunes that bordered on indie rock (Eschaton & My Gal, My Guy) that kept everyone on their toes and wanting more.

After a brief exit from the stage, they closed their set with a two-header encore that celebrated both the old and the new. They started with Orion the atmospheric penultimate track from their most recent album before bringing it home with the catchy fairy-tale inspired Blow the House Down from their self-released sophomore outing ‘Pilot Machines’.

As they made their bows and left for the bar, it took some time for the applause to die down. No surprises there really, it was a night of exceptionally talented musicians showcasing the best modern folk has to offer.



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