First Avenue Presents
DARLINGSIDE with Lula Wiles
416 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN, 55454
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is all ages
"It's over now / The flag is sunk / The world has flattened out," are the first words of Extralife, the new album by Boston-based quartet Darlingside. While the band's critically acclaimed 2015 release Birds Say was steeped in nostalgia and the conviction of youth, Extralife grapples with dystopian realities and uncertain futures. Whether ambling down a sidewalk during the apocalypse or getting stuck in a video game for eternity, the band asks, sometimes cynically, sometimes playfully: what comes next? Their erstwhile innocence is now bloodshot for the better.
Hope arrives in the form of Darlingside's signature superpower harmonies, drawing frequent comparisons to late-60's era groups like Crosby, Stills & Nash; Simon & Garfunkel; and The Byrds. And yet, their penchant for science fiction and speculative futurism counteracts any urge to pigeonhole their aesthetic as "retro". The four close friends construct every piece of their music collaboratively, pooling musical and lyrical ideas so that each song bears the imprint of four different writing voices. NPR Music dubs the result "exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop", and calls Extralife "perfectly crafted".
Darlingside perform all of their music around a single vocal microphone, inviting audiences into a lush, intimate world where four voices are truly one. Their 2016 performance at the Cambridge Folk Festival "earned an ecstatic reception and turned them into instant stars", according to The Daily Telegraph. The band tours regularly throughout the United States, Canada, the UK, and Europe.
What will we do? For Lula Wiles, the trio made up of Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, and Mali Obomsawin, the question is central to the creation of their music—and it’s the title of their new album. “We wanted to make an album that reflected, in a current way, what we are all staying up late thinking about and talking about over drinks at the dinner table,” says Obomsawin. “What is everyone worried about, confiding in their friends about, losing sleep about?” On What Will We Do, the band’s sophomore album, the trio’s voices burn, twist together, mingle, and rise like smoke signaling changes to come. But anchoring that delicate touch is a mastery of folk music —and a willingness to subvert its hallowed conventions.
Lula Wiles came of age in Boston, in the practice rooms of Berklee College of Music and the city’s lively roots scene. In 2016, the band self-released Lula Wiles, a sensitive, twang-tinged collection of originals. Since then, they have toured internationally, winning fans at the Newport Folk Festival and the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and sharing stages with the likes of Aoife O’Donovan, the Wood Brothers, and Tim O’Brien.
At its core, What Will We Do is an album centered around songcraft. The lyrics are sharp and the melodies finely wrought. You can hear, too, a growing maturity, a widening worldview. These aren’t your typical lovesick country tunes. “Last night we held a lie between our lips/ Another dead-end kiss,” Buckland sings about the end of a relationship on “Love Gone Wrong.” These are songs of stinging insight, of weary acceptance, of growing resilience.
That’s not to say that no traditional material made it onto What Will We Do. The title track is an Irish ballad—although the band couldn’t resist adding a twist of their own. Says Burke, “We wrote the verse about marrying the banker and redistributing all his money.” Lula Wiles brings new perspective to age-old traditions––above all, the people’s practice of sharing their communities’ struggles through songs. The band exists in the tense space where tradition and revolution meet, from which their harmonies rise into the air to create new American music.
$15 Advance / $18 Day of Show
Tickets are available through First Avenue online (click the "Buy Tickets" button above), at Electric Fetus, and The Cedar during shows.