Photos: The Darcys – at The Masquerade, Atlanta

The Darcys - at The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA - 18 Mar 2014

The Darcys – at The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA – 18 Mar 2014

Walking into the show was a little surprising – this was a band who I knew was up for a Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year for Warring, against darlings-of-late Arcade Fire, no less; and yet they were to appear in the smallest of the venue’s three rooms. Well I was still early and so staked my spot before I got pushed out by the crowd I was expecting at any moment.

The crowd, however, never did show up. I blame it on the fact that this was March 18, and St. Patrick’s Day and its almost palpable pressure to “go out and have a feckin’ good time.” People were probably still sleeping off their hangovers. Their loss – they missed a tight set with The Darcys’ almost ethereal tone that brings to mind rushing creeks and sunlight filtering through tall trees, backed by a vaguely loungey pop beat.

After the opening song, they went right into a cover of Steely Dan’s “When Josie Comes Home” – possibly a surprising choice until you learn that The Darcys have actually done an entire cover album of Aja, which drummer Wes Marksell told me was one of their favorite albums ever and a musical inspiration to the whole band. The set seemed too short, and despite the fairly small audience there was no lack of professionalism and tightly woven lyrical rhythms on the stage, as they continued on with “747s” off Warring and its Bukowski-influenced lyrics – “747s life me up so I don’t pull you under” – to their latest release, the enigmatic and achingly sad “Horses Fell.” The latter has a video that goes where most don’t go today. As lead Jason Couse explained to me after I remarked on the unusually cinematic feel of it, originally there was a whole other concept planned for the video. “We were heading in an entirely different direction until one night we got a phone call from the director, Michael Maxxis, who said, ‘Hey I’m in a casino in Reno and I just met this guy [Sonny Castille, the main character in the video] – you wouldn’t believe his story – we have just got to do this video with him – this is it – are you in?’ and we just trusted him and it came out perfectly. His [Sonny’s] nose bleeding … that wasn’t supposed to be part of it; it just happened and it was so beautiful and horrible and sad at the same time.” The video is beautifully crafted and almost painful to watch, yet it is difficult to look away. It is one of those songs and memories that stays with you long after listening, and the last shot of the video – where the depths to which Sonny as fallen are painfully apparent, overlaid with “What I saw changed everything we were / Changed everything we were” – will break your heart.

Juno nomination, social media, and living with three other guys 24/7

Between the set and the offstage photos, I waited while the band greeted fans and friends around the merch table – they apologized for making me wait; “We’re sorry – this is a part of our work” – of course I told them it was fine and I’d wait until they were free. Even so, they took turns drifting over to chat while others manned the table and signed autographs. I asked how touring was going and mentioned that another band I covered recently had told me how it had been hard to coordinate their traveling but “Now we’re all moving in together so it should be easier!” That brought a laugh and the declaration that three of them already lived together. I asked how that affected their relationships – was it hard being together constantly? – and was told that they are very in tuned with their social media pages and “If you tweet us or like us on Facebook, we’ll see it and probably respond. When we’re on the bus and have time when there is nothing else to do anyway, we are all madly on our phones checking out who’s talking to us and about us – it makes a nice break from each other and gives us something else to focus on. Although we did recently spend a lot of time together listening to an audiobook – Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open – have you read it? It’s fantastic!”

I also brought up their nomination for a Juno Award, the ceremony of which was to take place on March 31 in Winnipeg. I asked why they hadn’t mentioned it during the set and with a bit of shy embarrassment was told, “Oh well, we didn’t want brag … besides nobody down here [in the US] would know what it is,” to why I exclaimed, “You have to say ‘We’re up for a Canadian Grammy’! We all know what those are.” Unfortunately they did not win; Arcade Fire took it for Reflektor – but The Darcys have lots of time.

See more at thedarcys.com. 
Twitter: @itsthedarcys
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Jason Couse – vocals, guitar, keys
Wes Marksell – drums
Michael le Riche – guitar, synth, vocals
Dave Hurlow – bass

Buy Warring at Gallery AC  or on iTunes.

The Darcys will be continuing this tour through April 6, with special guests NO  and Reuben And The Dark 

Apr 01 – Edmonton, AB | The Artery
Apr 02 – Calgary, AB | The Gateway @ SAIT
Apr 03 – Kelowna, BC | Habitat
Apr 04 – Seattle, WA | Barboza
Apr 05 – Vancouver, BC | Biltmore
Apr 06 – Portland, OR | Mississippi Studios

Get tickets at Arts & Crafts. 

 

Article and photos by maryelle st. clare.