Darlia Rock The Boat

by Elliott Boekhoff

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of spending an evening in Bristol on behalf of this wonderful magazine to see the awesome upcoming indie band, Darlia. Having never been to a gig in Bristol, which is renowned for being a great platform for the plethora of upcoming indie bands, I was buzzing to say the least. And it gets better… it was on a boat! Thekla is the award winning indie night club that is… essentially a boat. And a pretty decent sized one at that.

Inside, it was big enough to fit a good four-hundred people, yet still it maintained an intimate atmosphere which is ideal for the kind of acts you would be seeing here. Certainly a very dynamic setting that caters for both the moshers and the people who just want a drink and a chat while they listen to the bands. As somewhat of an inbetweener depending on my alcohol consumption, I stood firmly in the middle with my mate, Sam (who was aptly wearing his earplugs), while sipping my Red Stripe, to blend in with the crowd of Bristolian hipsters. I genuinely saw a guy combine a mini skirt with skinny jeans – (I guess that’s in now?!), and I’m fairly certain it wasn’t just a baggy T-shirt.

Anyway, I was here to see two great upcoming bands: Nothing But Thieves and Darlia. As a huge Darlia fan I wasn’t too fussed about the quality of the support acts, but wow… Nothing But Thieves blew me away. The lead singer had a simply epic voice which filled the entire room/deck and was very reminiscent of Matt Bellamy from Muse. In general, he was a great frontman who really got the crowd pumped and ready for Darlia - I even got to witness my first stage dive!

In terms of songs to look out for from the band, Ban All The Music is an absolutely epic indie anthem, as are Itch and Wake Up Call, the latter of which will likely be their flagship single. Graveyard Whistling is a little bit slower, if that’s your thing. Nothing But Thieves are definitely a dynamic band who are capable of putting out a diverse range of tracks to suit a variety of ‘guitar band sub-genres’. Definitely check them out in Cavern on March 8th (an event co-promoted by PearShaped!). Believe me, they will sound epic in Cavern, so this is not one to miss.

With the crowd chanting “Darlia!” for a good 20 minutes, it was finally time for the headliners to grace the stage. They opened with Napalm, an upbeat indie track with a heavy Nirvana-esque chorus, a personal favourite of mine. It follows the blueprint for many of their other songs; short and sweet verses and heavy, rock choruses. As I mentioned, it’s hard not to think of Nirvana, especially when the lead singer is a Kurt Cobain lookalike. However, they’re more a sort of British indie grunge hybrid, which I find to be an effective combo, especially considering the current demand for guitar bands in the UK.

For a three-piece they had an amazing presence, with the lead guitar and vocals not lacking depth in the slightest. Combined with the awesome bassist rocking out to the max, they sounded absolutely fantastic; better than their record, which is something I don’t often say. Candyman and Stars Are Aligned were certainly highlights, with the crowd knowing all the lyrics and jumping in unison (rocking the boat in the process). Dear Diary was my personal favourite - when it came on I couldn’t from help singing / wailing out the lyrics like I was back home in my bedroom on Longbrook Street.

Although not the most seasoned gig-goer, it was still one of the best live performances I’ve seen. Partly due to the amazing venue and also the sheer calibre of the band’s on show. One drawback was that it was a bit of a short gig, but Darlia haven’t yet got the extensive portfolio of tracks that other upcoming indie bands have. In summary, I can certainly recommend Thekla as a venue or night out, and if you’re looking for a new rock band to listen to, definitely check out Darlia and Nothing But Thieves!