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Darling New Neighbors LAST SHOW at Skinny’s Ballroom

05/29/2011

Catherine Morris playing Springsteen’s “Thunder Road”

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The Midwives opening up.

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Darling New Neighbors (w/ brass)

Hannah and I have known the Darling New Neighbors since just about the beginning.  We met them at the Carousel Lounge in early 2004 as they were preparing the kickoff show for the Hot Wet Deep South tour.  Hannah was there with mutual friends before I arrived, and she excitedly handed me the flier for the carnival-themed show while introducing me to Elizabeth Jackson, the violin/accordion/bass-ist and lead singer of the group.  I was in a good mood and jokingly demanded that there better be some balloon-dart action there.  Elizabeth said sorry, but I immediately volunteered Hannah and I to do it, and we followed through.  It was a great time and raised an extra $80 for their tour, mostly because of one person who kept feeding twenties to a 10-year-old girl at the Church Of The Friendly Ghost where the show was.  Our fingers were sore, but it was a great experience and we made some of our first music friends in Austin.

Fast forward to 2011, and DNN are tied to some of my favorite times here.  Christmas dinner, house-sitting and many parties at Elizabeth’s, a few short stints in the band as a JV trombonist, my surf band recruiting Amy and Elizabeth to play great covers of “Telstar” and “Shockwave”, and getting to know a ton of amazing people.  This last show was characteristic, my friend Catherine Morris led off the night with a few sweet accordion-led songs, followed by Stanley Roy’s flamboyant ukelele covers.  The Midwives were a little shaky to start their rockin’ girl-group set but got a lot more solid by the end, and I’ll definitely look for them again.  And Darling New Neighbors’ set was as confident as I’ve seen them.  Latest drummer Karl has an easy-going vibe that fits perfectly, Elizabeth’s vocals showed the great nuance and strength she’s developed before our ears, everybody’s playing was great and that was accentuated by the addition of excellent brass players Amber, Lee and Rashid.  I can’t say they played my all-time favorites (“Piece Of Ass” and “Ph.D. In Misery”), but there were a lot of favorites, new and old.  I picked up their new EP and after listening to Freakers On The Spazmonaut Train today, I think it’s safe to say that they went out on top of their game. Long live Darling New Neighbors!

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