Concert Review: Allo Darlin, November 4, Drake Hotel

Photo by Frank Yang

In my mind, I will always associate Allo Darlin with a very specific and somewhat unusual moment in time, that moment being the first time I ever heard their music.

Picture it: France in the summer of 2011. I’m on vacation in Paris and looking for something different to do. I’ve heard tell of a nice little town about an hour outside of the city that’s good for sightseeing, full of nice old churches and whatnot. This town is known as Chartres. I know, right? Funny name, sounds a bit like “shart.” I decide to make the trip and it is indeed a nice little town. But something is up on the day I arrive. Something seems a bit off about the place. While checking out the cathedral, I notice a bunch of priests congregating together (pun intended). These priests seem to be up to something. They’ve got a soundsystem set up and everything. Soon after this, everyone inside was asked to leave. Seems fishy. As I go outside to further explore the city, I see large groups of people, many of them youths, some of them in scout uniforms, roaming the streets with flags. Yes indeed, something is definitely up, and that something, it seems, involves a whole lotta Catholics. Apparently the day I randomly picked to go here is also the day of some huge gathering for Catholic folks. This was an unusual day to say the least. What does any of this have to do with the lovely indie pop sounds of Allo Darlin? I’m getting to that, dear reader. Have patience.

Anyways, after scoring a free bottle of water from the Catholics, I duck into a local pub to grab a pint and ask the barkeep exactly what is happening. After getting the lowdown on what’s goin’ down in Chartres town, I head out again and before too long, I slip into a nearby hotel to make use of the facilities.  A free, large bottle of water and a pint or two will have that effect on a body. As I ready myself to leave, I am frozen in place for a moment, entranced by some sweet sounding music playing through the speakers and a voice intoning the words, “This is simple and it’s true/So let’s go swimming this afternoon.” Being overseas, without a data plan, probably having left my phone behind in the apartment anyways, and not really knowing how things like Shazam work regardless, I write down the lyrics old school style so I can search it up later. And when I do, I realize that i should have looked into this band long before this, but am still grateful to have heard them when I did.

And so, a few years later I find myself in the Drake Underground, standing amongst one of the quieter crowds I have ever seen/not heard at a show (the bassist for openers Persian Rugs quipped that he worked in a library and that this crowd was quieter than the one at work), ready to be charmed by the London based quartet and safe in the knowledge that, no, Prince will not be playing a show at Massey Hall tonight after all. With any potential FOMO out of the way, I was now fully able to take in Allo Darlin’s set and it was indeed quite the enjoyable show. Great tunes, copious amounts of ukulele, a shout out to The Hidden Cameras, cryptic band in-jokes as stage banter (who is “Night Guy?”) and a recurring joke comparing tuning with foreplay (both are terribly important if you want things to go well afterwards) all make for a  completely satisfying evening.  Simple and true.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts