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Concert Review: Those Darlins, Hacienda, & Dan Auerbach – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH – 03/05/09

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It was an entertaining evening Thursday night fueled by heavy doses of country twang and serious rock 'n' roll thanks to the bands that performed at one of Cleveland’s best little venues, the Beachland Ballroom. The line-up was enough to call for that simple dreadful sign stating that tickets were sold out. All who were lucky enough to obtain admittance to the performance certainly are still talking about the show that Those Darlins, Hacienda, and Dan Auerbach who is known as the lead signer of The Black Keys put on.

Having heard about the show last week, I decided that it was not to be missed and made plans to attend. Accompanied with a couple of friends who have love for country and rock, I was sure they would have a great time checking out all the bands. We arrived to the Waterloo Rd. venue a little early as I was not certain how long it would take to make the trek there. The Beachland Ballroom is not located exactly downtown Cleveland but just a short drive away on a sketchy yet hip part of town. We arrived with no problems and finally made our way into the ballroom. One of the things I like about the Beachland Ballroom is how quaint it is. It reminds me of a gymnasium from a middle school of my past with a stage and no real distractions in the main gathering area itself.

Once we finally got in we made a pit stop at the merch tables and I dropped five dollars on Those Darlin’s Wild One EP. For three songs the five bucks was totally worth it. The main reason I even planned on attending the concert was because of the trio of ladies otherwise known as Those Darlins. I just had received a taste of their sound last week. What I heard not only made my day but also made me what to see them perform live.

Normally people get excited for the main act at a concert and the openers are almost like icebreakers for the evening. For the first time in a long time this was not the case for me. I dig the Black Keys and I have seen them live before. I actually had not heard the solo release of Dan Auerbach yet and to be honest I was more interested in seeing the opener.

Those DarlinsNashville’s neighboring sweethearts Those Darlins took the stage to a decent sized crowd and opened with “Wild One“. I think it is safe to say that they impressed the crowd right away physically and musically with their mix of country, folk, bluegrass, and sass. Dressed to impress, the three fine-looking girls and their mustache clad drummer had an amazing stage presence and were all smiles through their set. Sipping on strong drinks in between songs the girls shared singing duties and entertained all. “I love you” was shouted more than one time, and although I admit a major crush on the three darlings, I assure you it was not me.

They played the two other tracks on their Wild One EP including the humorous “Whole Damn Thing” as well as a healthy bout of tunes to be hopefully released on their debut CD in June. At times they sounded like The Carter Family and other times reminded me of a female version of Hank Williams III, but much better looking. Seeing them live on stage having such a good time really added to the attraction. I was not ready for them to finish when they did and really could have listened to them play all night with their unique sound. I can only hope for a return by the sassy ladies once their debut CD is released.

Many people were excited to see the San Antonio rock jam band Hacienda take stage. I wish I could say I was too, but honestly the only thing I knew about this band is that they were backing up Dan Auerbach during his set and that their latest album, Loud Is The Night, was recorded at Dan Auerbach’s Akron Analog . I checked out some of the set and at times was shaking my head along to the beat. It was good music, but just not what I was looking to hear at the time.

Dan Auerbach

Dan Auerbach with Hacienda and friends took stage after a short break. It was at this moment that I realized how sold out the show really was as I could barely move through the crowd to find a good place to watch the headliner. With only hearing a track or two off of Dan Auerbach’s Keep It Hid I knew it was not anything Black Keys but still was not completely sure what was going to happen.

The sounds Dan Auerbach and crew put forth reminded me of early rock at its finest with a jam feel at times. Each member on the stage had their own specialty to make the live performance even more interesting. Guitar solos, dual vocals, and smiles ear to ear by the performers just added to the good time being had by all. I got a huge kick out of the duel drumming and especially seeing Patrick Hallahan from My Morning Jacket do his thing moving from drum set to congo and maraca and even beating upon a giant triangle. Rocking out until after midnight the band continued to electrify. I can not tell you what songs they played as I still have yet to pick up the CD but I can tell you Keep It Hid is on my “to buy” list.

It was an excellent night for new music to hit my ears thanks to all three acts playing on stage. I became a bigger fan of Those Darlins as well as gotten a good taste of what Dan Auerbach’s solo material sounds like backed with a full band. Despite the sold out crowd, it was a great evening and I know I was not the only one who enjoyed it. If these three acts happen to come your way and you are looking for a night of fun and music do yourself a favor and grab a ticket before it sells out.

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