Allo’ Darlin + Milky Wimpshake + Rexine – Newcastle, Star and Shadow Cinema, 22 February 2012

From the moment I heard the opening track on Allo’ Darlins 2010 debut I knew I was a fan. The gentle yet upbeat pop songs on that record were enough to keep me interested and engaged for quite some time. When I heard that they would be playing the Star and Shadow, frankly one of the best venues in Newcastle, I set my hopes high.

It looked to be a good line up of refreshing twee pop on a quiet Wednesday night. Both support bands I’d heard a lot about but never actually witnessed live. Unfortunately, as I enter the venue, Rexine were just about to finish their final song. It’s a shame as I was eagerly anticipating them, hoping that they would live up to the reputation they’d been given from others. From the snippet I did hear though, it sounded great. It’s just a pity I didn’t get to see the whole set.

After a brief interlude, Milky Wimpshake took to the stage. This band should be praised simply on the name alone. I’m glad to be able to report that their music is worthy of appraisal too. It’s simple, there’s no denying that, but that’s part of the charm. Lyrically, they’re full of wit and humor. They tell stories and tales in such a childlike manner that it’s hard not to love them. It’s fitting with the music too. It’s nice, straightforward, slightly jangly indie pop. It’s unobtrusive and also slightly homely. They’re the sort of band that you’ll be hard pushed to find someone who hates them. They play a set full of old hits such as ‘Cherry Pop’ mixed in with the Northeastern debut of a few new tracks. In with that though, they also have a cover of Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love Will Find You In The End’, which is just perfect. There are no others words for it, just perfect. A truly brilliant set by the mighty WIMPSHAKE!

Allo' DarlinWith my face smiling from the lighthearted indie pop I’d just witnessed, I was certainly ready to see Allo’ Darlin. They take to the stage, thank everyone for coming then launch straight into new single ‘Capricornia’. Now, I have a bit of a gripe with this. I’ve been thinking it since the show, but I’m not entirely sold on Allo’ Darlin’s new material. I don’t know what it is about it but I just can’t get into it. Both from listening to it recorded and seeing it live it hasn’t had the same effect as their previous efforts. I cant quite put my finger on it though. I’ve been thinking it may simply be because it’s new and that I haven’t had the time to fully absorb it yet. But then again, when I first played their debut album I loved it from the very start.

Strange. I guess everyone has a different opinion. Aside from my uncertainty on the new tracks, they play a brilliant set. It’s full of the charisma I was expecting. As Elizabeth Morris brings out her Ukulele, I’m excited, as I know I’m going to hear some of the songs I loved and overplayed from their 2010 debut. The songs they play are nothing more than perfectly executed pop songs, and I love them. There is something so harmless and enjoyable about them. They’re play a brilliant set and leave the crowd wanting more. So, in light of hearing the event curfew is 2am, they go on to play a few more songs starting with a cover. It’s now the second cover of the night, this time a rendition of ‘Dive for your Memory’ by The Go-Betweens. It lowers the tone and mood of their previous songs, going for a gentle, softer approach but it fits so well with the bands style and sounds brilliant. The close the show with song ‘ My Heart I A Drummer’ and the crowd still want more, but sadly its not to be.

All in all, a perfectly enjoyable night of twee pop, something of a change for me. But it was definitely the sort of night where I could enjoy something a bit happier and brighter, rather than my usual misanthropic song choices. For now though, I think I’m going to try and give their new material another chance, I think they deserve that much.

Photos taken from Allo‘ Darlin Facebook profile


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