Have you ever have left a show with the instant need to plug back into the music and dance across town until you finally pass out in bed for the night? The kind of show that leaves you singing for days?
Well, see a show by the brit boys The Darling Buds and you almost certainly will.
Huxton Square Bar & Kitchen is made up a three smaller spaces: a restaurant currently advertising their pizza selection across the website; the bar which I didn’t see much of except that it was pretty packed (though this could have been an irregularity due to a show night); and, finally, the back room where the show takes place.
The backroom is decently sized to rival any small club venue. Nowhere on the floor seems too far away from the stage so really only the crowd itself may become a sight issue.
At the back of the room is a second bar so you can keep drinking through the wait and opening show without fighting your way through the other crowd outside the doors.
I set up along the left side of the room right by the stage stairs. You may be tempted to get into the center stage area and I don’t blame you—I’ve done it myself countless times—but why fight for that when this spot gives you everything.
I wasn’t at the front of the line to get on but this space was clear. There was a table sticking out from the side stage storage compartment that was a nice storage space for a jacket if you are willing to risk it and a nice lean space in the long wait periods before things get to crowded.
This spot is between the two spaces the talent—if you will—passes through—the stage stairs and the door to what I can only imagine is the greenroom—which is quite interesting.
The view of the show is great as long as your there for the music and not just to grab at whoever is on the stage. If you want to see everyone on the band, you’re a little far to the side for a really clear shot but honestly you shouldn’t have anyone knocking into you and space to dance around.
The opening act was a quartet of boys from York called Hello Operator. I couldn’t place the ages of the band but they were young with quite the interesting sound. Oh, and they were very polite as they passed us on the way up to the stage—very nice boys.
They played a good set but the interesting thing which really stood out was the front man’s voice. It was the kind of voice that sounded like it was coming from somewhere between the back of neck and a head voice—a slight whine but with an unexpectedly strong edge.
They had a great stage presence however their age showed in some of the movements which seemed slightly stilted and rehearsed rather than something fluid or organic. Because of this I found myself watching the singers hand on his guitar rather than his larger physical movements—the glide of his fingers from one chord to the next was the opposite of the larger movements—well practiced and precise to flow with little effort.
Despite this larger stilted movements of halfhearted headbangs, I read an underlying and undeniable talent in a moment that could have ended up a disaster. After fumbling with pulling a pick out of his pocket, the lead singer strummed a measure or two before dropping the pick and moving on like none of it happened—completely smooth. I’m not sure which parts of this were timed and practiced and which just happened but between this and the sounds they produced, these boys are worth keeping an eye on.
The main event:
I’ve been lucky enough to see The Darling Buds preform twice before back in LA and, if I’ve learned anything from these shows, I’ve learned that they never disappoint. Listening to them play live gives you a totally different experience than listening to an album or even rewatching the shows in YouTube—which there are plenty to choose from, by the way, if you want to give these boys a listen.
From the change of inflection in every show to the added expletives to the ways they interact with everything around them, this is a band I can go see over and over again without regrets of either time or money spent. There is always something worth seeing when The Darling Buds take the stage.
If you’re looking to only hear the band play, you’ll be out of luck. The crowds who flock to these boys know every word to every song and watching the expressions and the bits of language which spill from the boys is well worth listening to crowd scream lyrics back at the stage. They seem to be preforming pretty regularly, and still are blown away from the audiences enthusiasm and they definitely embrace and even play with that spirit whenever they can.
If you end up in this crowd and don’t know the words yet—one of the lovely ladies I met last night didn’t—you won’t be left out. The sound these boys make lets you rock with the crowd and you don’t need to know anything more than how to appreciate good music to get swept away with the rest of us.
I went to this show alone but was quickly welcomed to scream and sing with a small group of fans—dancing and just enjoying my night. And from what I can tell, this isn’t an odd experience in this global group that is nothing short of a fandom. There are no outsiders in a room like this and that’s just one of a million reasons I could give to go see these boys in action just as soon as you are able.
I’ve been to a lot of concerts throughout my life in all kinds of venues and musical genres, but it is bands like this ad venues like this that really make the experience of standing in a small room, dancing like an idiot, screaming until you can’t speak for days and ending up covered in both your own sweat and the sweat of who knows how many other equally excited people that makes me come back time and time again.
When it comes to watching a show put on by these lovely men, my recommendation above all else is, when the crowd really gets going, stop looking through the camera lens you’ve no doubt been filming through—seriously so many videos!—and just look at Jamie Bower and the rest of the Darling Buds’ faces as they listen to the crowd sing.
That’s love and that’s the reason you should love these boys and the noise they make. It sweeps you up and definitely feels like magic.