Darlingside at The Sinclair

Going into this concert, I had heard some of Darlingside’s music and wasn’t really sure

what to expect from a live show. Darlingside’s music, to me, seemed to be a Mumford and

Sons with strings. After seeing them in concert, it seems their music is for the most part

milder, but still energetic and enthusiastic. Darlingside is unique within the spectrum of

indie music because they incorporate instruments such as the cello, violin, and mandolin

quite frequently in most of their songs. The vocal arrangement, of all four of the band-

members harmonizing, is also fairly uncommon and very beautiful to hear live.

Darlingside formed about six years ago after meeting each other at Williams College. The

guys referenced Boston as “home” throughout the show and kept mentioning how cool it

was to be playing back where they started.

Don Mitchell, the guitarist and banjo player, took charge for most of the concert by

introducing songs and narrating segues. He started off the show by explaining that this was

a monumental show for the band, since almost five years ago they had played in Boston

with their co-headliner David Wax Museum, who joined them for a song towards the

beginning as well. All of the guys mentioned throughout the concert how amazing it was for

them to be playing at The Sinclair as a co-headliner, and that this was one of their biggest

venues thus far. I didn’t realize how long Darlingside had been together, and made me go

back through their older albums and EP (10/10 recommend).

The four twenty-somethings crowded around a single mic and mesmerized the entire

audience with their harmonies. Dave Senft kept the beat going throughout with the foot

drum and occasionally played the bass as well, and the other three alternated providing

different vibes to the music with the mandolin and violin from Auyon Mukharji, cello and

guitar from Harris Paseltiner, and guitar and banjo from Don Mitchell. The mandolin and

cello were particularly spellbinding and impressive, especially, for example, at high speeds

in “Blow the House Down.”

While the vibe throughout the concert was mostly very chill and melodious, songs like

“Blow the House Down” and “Go Back” definitely got the whole room dancing. Beyond the

music, the chemistry between all the guys was really fun to experience. Each song was

punctuated with some undoubtedly impromptu sardonic banter or weird story from one of

the band members. Mukharji took about five minutes to explain to all of us what exactly an

“orange supreme” is, after spotting it on the menu at The Sinclair.

It was also great to hear the motivation behind some of their songs, which you can’t totally

figure out from listening to them on your own. Most of the band is from the Midwest, which

is why several of their songs are apparently about Chicago and other major cities in that

area. They also have a song entitled “Harrison Ford,” who they described in the concert as

“a great, great man,” followed by several much-appreciated Star Wars puns. The rapport

they carried throughout was incredibly endearing and definitely made the whole concert

experience more intimate and enjoyable overall. I would recommend seeing Darlingside

live just to hear some of their eccentric opinions or strange stories from on tour, which you

obviously (and unfortunately) can’t experience through Spotify.

Although I didn’t know too much about Darlingside before the concert, I will definitely be

listening to them more and looking out for their future albums.

– Shreya Ramesh