The second night of our “3 concerts in 3 nights” weekend took us to The Casbah in Hamilton, ON, for an evening with The Darcys – a new, reinvented Darcys whose sound has progressed from indie-rock to a slick studio “back to the 80s” kind of deal.

While various blogs have labelled the Darcys as selling out their music for commercial success, we fortunately have only recently discovered this band and do not have such a benchmark to compare with their new release “Centerfold.”  L picked up on this band long before myself, and after teasing my ears with new tracks “Miracle” and “Alibi,” a date with the Darcys at the Casbah easily became a must-see event.

The night of live music commenced with local act Wooly Mantis, a wonderful rock band who aptly describe their sound as a “psychedelic progressive rock experience.”  The mixture of Southern blues/funk/swamp rock grabbed my attention pretty quickly.

With some amazing percussion work from the “Dirty Hippie,” and retro guitar chord progressions, the Wooly Mantis played a handful of songs to a crowd who were clearly very familiar with their material.  As their set came to a close, I was intrigued and made a mental note to research these guys a little more.  Would love to see them again and devote a little more time to their musical catalog.

Hailing from British Columbia, Bear Mountain took to the stage, with front-man Ian Bevis dominating the stage (just how tall is this guy?).  While the Darcys are the new kings of 80s retro pop-rock, Bear Mountain have carved their own path with an indie-house-dance driven blend of early 90s alternative electronica. Playing through “Faded,” “House,” and “Hopeful,” Bear Mountain did not let off the gas pedal throughout their set, with Bevis alternating between vocals, bass and synthesizer.

As both opening acts worked through their set lists, The Darcys’ Jason Couse and Wes Marskell spent a lot of time schmoozing with the crowd.  We applaud the way these gentleman embrace social media, and their dedication to being so accessible to their fan base.  I personally thank both guys for autographing our CDs and the photo opportunity.  Knowing that we had driven up from Pennsylvania, Jason did happen to mention that they are working on a possible show in New York sometime soon, although nothing has been officially finalized as of writing.

Wooly Mantis, Casbah, Hamilton, ON, 25 Nov. 2016
Wooly Mantis, Casbah, Hamilton, ON, 25 Nov. 2016
« 1 of 4 »

Taking to the stage at around 11:20 p.m., the guys promoted the new release pretty heavily, opening with “Arizona Highway” before moving onto their recent hit “Alibi.”  The new single “Coming Up For Air” would be performed too, along with the melodic “San Diego, 1988” and “Lip Service.”  Midway through the show, Jason addressed the crowd with sentiments regarding all of the great artists that we have lost in 2016, and performed the opening verse and chorus of “Purple Rain” (Prince Cover) before transitioning into the popular hit “Miracle.”

With beach balls flying through the air, Wes never lost his timing on the drums even when taking a beach ball to his face.  A big smile followed, along with props from the crowd that were further increased when Wes explained that “Studio City” pays homage to the fact that if you can’t make it as a musician in Hollywood, you can always end up as a porn star (leaves me wondering if this explains the mustache…or should I digress?).

This was to be the final evening of the Darcys’ current tour, and they would end the show at the Casbah with a cover version of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”  With Ian Bevis sharing the vocals, and with Jason playfully stumbling his way through the second verse, the crowd were heartily singing along to a popular 80s tune, being made popular again live by an 80s throwback band.  What a great way to bring the show to a close.  This was a great live set by the Darcys, and if these two guys (along with their energetic sound engineer) make it south of the Canadian border, I strongly encourage you to check them out – regardless of whether you had a thing for 80s synth-pop or not.

~ M

Visit Wooly Mantis’ Bandcamp page.

Listen to Bear Mountain on their Soundcloud page.

Go to the Darcys’ website.