I WAS THERE . . . Darla Farmer @ Pianos 5.28.09

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After a long wait and a bunch of other bands at a crowded bar, Darla Farmer took to the crowded stage and delivered one hell of a late night party. The seven piece group is sort of like a trifle in that you have many different ingredients coming together with delicious results. Cabaret piano and electric violin add flair to the basic rock set up. Then there’s the pair of horn players who looked like they were someone’s kid brothers that got invited on stage and were super stoked to be there. At the center of it all was singer/guitarist Clint Wilson, who had the impressive ability of drawing attention without being flashy or ostentatious.

Their circus act was about as fun live as I expected from hearing the few songs they had posted online. It’s tough for seven people to thoroughly rock out in such limited space but they pulled it off. From the angry riffing of “Mechanical Thoughts” to the kooky “Tommy Bones,” every song was as good or better than the last. Then they brought out a cover of The Beatles “Hey Bulldog” that fit in surprisingly well with their originals.

The crowd may have dwindled by their set, probably due to the late hour, but those who stuck around were all visibly excited by the slightly odd band they were witnessing. As good of a time the audience was having, the band seemed to be having an even better one. Backing vocals were delivered with amused zeal and Wilson and bassist Bryce Leonard frequently gave each other smiles that showed how much fun they had playing their songs. If there was no one in the audience the band probably would have had just as much fun and isn’t that what playing music is all about?

Jonathan Zuckerman

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