Darlingside at the Tractor Tavern
Auyon Mukharji was bescarved, delivering a mid-set speech full of large words to an audience that devoured them as though they were chubby green olives filled with prosciutto and white cheese.
Tom from New Hampshire. Everyone in the crowd knew a Tom from New Hampshire (or Maine?). But how’s he doing now? Well, after graduating from Williams – not an Ivy, but basically an Ivy – he married Tara, but that LUG phase Tara went through in college turned out to be not a phase at all; she wound up running off with Scout, who thought Ani DiFranco was the 13th apostle. He was okay with it, though. They had a threesome, wept tears of joy that masked extreme sorrow, and then divorced.
Skip. That rascal, Skip. Pulled off straight A’s and drank himself into oblivion every night. Trustafarian with a running tab that actually got paid off, and a fake ID that was absolutely legit. Befriended Bezos, made a payload. Drinks on him tonight, but if anyone wants a soft-serve cone at Dick’s afterwards, all bets are off.
Logan. Cashmere sweaters, always. Brown hair, so straight, and a fiendish laugh. Drugs? Sure. Just no needles. Philosophy major. The type of filly boys sprinted to introduce to their parents. Manic pixie dream girl. She hated that shit, though, and dumped them all. Oh, but she found her prince: He’s way up high in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, enabling her to escape Trump and all he hath wrought. Vancouver, it’s beautiful this time of year. Or any time, any year – at least until 2020, when the Popovich-Kerr ticket takes America.
Tina. Oh GOD, how’d SHE get into Williams? Did she blow the dean or something? No, her family was a hardship case–real purple-collar folk from the hard part of Vermont that’s not all Phish shows and weird ice cream. Sure, she partied like every night was the last one on Earth as a junior, but given the same circumstances, wouldn’t you? She’s now an Exxon exec, thinking about rehiring Rex Tillerson. But you wouldn’t know that by the ZZ Top shirt she’s got one, would you?
Auyon, Don, Harris, and David. These are the men of Darlingside, and this was their crowd at the Tractor Tavern on the evening before St. Patrick’s Day. They sound like Simon & Garfunkel, only with two Simons and two Garfunkels, and a better sense of humor. The four of them stand around one microphone and sing songs with quirky lyrics that border on precious, and occasionally cross that border. And did I mention their name is Darlingside? Good god.
If the preceding rundown makes you want to run outside and punch a stranger, believe me, I get it. But in spite of all that, would you believe Darlingside overcomes all this and wins you over? Because they do: Their impeccable harmonies make your ears wonder why you’ve been punishing them all these years. Their Tractor Tavern show in Seattle was like stepping out of a puddle that may have been puked in and into the dean’s den, with all the tomes and all the tequila and all the hand-tossed tamales. That’s not a bad place to be with one of America’s best bands, but the only way to go is to go back.