Gig Review: The Darcys at Samsung Galaxy Life

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It’s been far too long since I’ve seen The Darcys in concert. Just over two years ago, my dad drove me to Hamilton so that I could see them play an all-ages show, and I remember feeling like it was one of the best things I’d ever seen – probably because it was. The Darcys put on a special kind of show, a set that feels intimate and consuming and unforgettable. It’s hard to forget something like that, and much harder to go two years without experiencing it again.

I’ve been waiting since that day in May 2014 to see them again, and I’ve missed a couple key shows, including their comeback show at The Mod Club on May 25th of this year. The day that I finally got to see the new duo in concert felt like a long time coming, and as soon as they announced a free show last Friday at the Samsung Galaxy Life pop-up in Toronto, I pretty much squealed with excitement and decided that I had to go or I was likely to die a slow and painful death. I rushed over to the venue after work, patiently waiting to see my favourite duo ever. I was captivated as soon as the set started, and I spent the following hour dancing and singing my heart out. It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time.

The Darcys have carved out a new space in the Toronto music scene for themselves, crafting a distinct eighties vibe complete with fringed leather jackets, skinny white pants, and floral shirts. Their stage is decked out with at least half a dozen plants and there’s a pink neon sign in the background that screams “DARCYS” straight in your face. The aesthetic is pretty much perfect, and it’s also a far cry from who they were as a band before – but I’m all for it. It feels bigger and better than anything they’ve done previously.

The duo played almost an entire set of new songs, each of them drawn from their upcoming album Centrefold, which is to be released on November 4th. Never in a million years did I think I’d be so lucky as to hear those tracks two and a half months before the release, and I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Each track is catchy beyond belief, and it’s the first time I’ve felt like I can really dance to an entire Darcys record. I’m beyond stoked about it, and I already know that that album is going to be the only thing that gets me through exam season.

Breaking up new content with old favourites including “The River,” “Josie”, and “Shaking Down the Old Bones,” The Darcys put on a set that felt nostalgic and familiar while also being new and beyond exciting. Both new singles – “Miracle” and “San Diego, 1988” – also went down extremely well with the crowd, sparking a couple sing-alongs and inspiring those awkward, swaying dance moves that only really happen at concerts. It’s pain-stakingly obvious how keen all their die-hard fans are to hear the new album, and getting a taste of it was everything we could have asked for and more.

On top of being incredible performers and creatives, The Darcys are also genuinely just really nice guys. We hung around for a while after the show and spoke with both Wes and Jason about their upcoming release, and it was nice to hear them talk about their creative process and the album that they’ve put together. It’s also one of the best feelings ever when your favourite musicians take time to interact with their fans, and it made me ten times more excited about the record – as if I wasn’t eager enough.

From what I can tell, Centrefold is going to be a vivid pop album that I’m going to want to listen to on repeat for the next decade, if not longer. “Miracle” had me hooked within the first three seconds, and it instantly became the soundtrack for my first summer in Toronto. I’m sure it’ll always be the track that brings me straight back to nights spent on my balcony with my roommates and days roaming the city on my own. “San Diego, 1988” is just as incredible, it’s slow and steady beat building up to a powerful, fervent chorus.  The other new tracks, including one called “Studio City” and another titled “Black Diamond” are just as impressive and well-crafted, and I have no doubt that they’ll go down well with the entire fan base. I’ve been anticipating the release of this album for ages, and I can’t wait to have the vinyl in my hands and permanently placed on my turntable.

In all honesty I can’t really write anything about The Darcys that isn’t somewhat biased. They’ve been one of my favourite bands for a long time, and every time they do something new it all just seems to get better, my appreciation for the duo increasing ten-fold with each release. Their new tracks and revamped aesthetic are no exception, and I left that show feeling full of excitement and riding an extreme concert high – something I haven’t felt in what feels like forever. If the concert was that great, I can only imagine how unbelievably good the album is going to be. Luckily for us, there are only a couple months until we get to find out.

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