Beauty of the Ride: The Darts (US) European Tour Photo Diary
The Darts ( US) Photos: Chris Barber
All-girl rock supergroup, The Darts (US) made big waves (and splashes) on their debut European jaunt last month – shooting sonic arrows straight through hearts and ears, from London to Venice. Nicole Laurenne (The Love Me Nots, Motobunny, Zero Zero), Rikki Styxx (The Two Tens, The Dollyrots, Thee Outta Sites), Christina Nunez (The Love Me Nots, Casual Encounters, The Madcaps), and Michelle Balderrama (Brainspoon) unveiled their signature brand of high energy, fuzz box infused, farfisa bashing rock, leaving stunned audiences gasping for more with their ultra-powerful and mesmerising delivery. The girls all flew into London from LA and Phoenix, bringing with them the hot and sweaty weather that ended up following them all over the continent.
Almost from the moment they stepped off the plane, photo shoots and interviews were awaiting them in the city with only minutes spared afterwards for them to get across town for soundcheck for their headline show at The DIRTY WATER CLUB. Also awaiting them at the club was a newly revised recording contract from the in-house record label, Dirty Water Records.
On a night that saw a packed audience with a mixture of industry folk, scenesters and gig revellers alike, The Darts, showing no signs of jet lag, raised the roof off the Finsbury Pub with a super-spirited and “charged” performance that marked an incredible night that many in the audience will never forget. And of course, forged new bonds with a big aftershow party with label mates The Priscillas, The Cavemen, and Suicide Generation.
Next up was Brighton; with plenty of time to soak up the sunshine and take in the beach and pier action before their anticipated set at the riotous BITCHCRAFT night at Sticky Mike Frogs, with fellow desert star’s Death Valley Girls. After blasting waves of fuzzed out, farf driven, reverberated beauty throughout a dazzling forty-five minute performance, there was very little time to spare much chit-chat before having to get straight back in the van to ‘dart’ down to catch their “Chunnel” crossing to France – enroute to Bourges – for their debut at the amazingly notorious, COSMIC TRIP FESTIVAL.
In what became the highlight performance of the entire festival, the girls also played to their largest showing of the entire tour with festival goers buying up almost all of the remaining merchandise, lining up for selfies and expressing their unwavering adulation with almost groupie like affection.
Nicole and Rikki stage dived and crowd surfed for the first time ever with Nicole ending up on top of a half naked reveller on the floor, whilst they all danced to DJ’s until the sun came up, proceeded by champagne exploding all over the dressing room with members of PowerSolo, Les Lullies and Atom Age all participating in the shenanigans.
Next up was Dijon, playing the cavernous cave like DEEP INSIDE KLUB, where the closed quarters and low ceilings, left little room for their powerful sound to escape anywhere but through the souls of the exclusive audience which morphed into a wild, frenzied mosh pit that crowd surfed all over each other, with the band instigating and orchestrating the lovely chaos throughout the entire evening like a pack of pied piperesses .
After a day off hanging out in the palatial city of St Etienne, the band were Italy bound for Turin after a long drive and pause to enjoy the beauty of the ride.
Tonight, it’s Michelle’s Birthday, and at BLAH BLAH club, the Darts ditched their usual black laced stage “slumberware” and covered themselves like a shroud with matching T-shirts ( still leaving plenty to the imagination) belting out a smoking set that unveiled brand new songs, and enraptured the audience with their own kind of divinity, with encore after encore.
They had a special tequila shot toast to Michelle getting one year more wiser, (on her first ever European touring experience) followed on afterwards with a raging party with new friends – whom always come out to play every night – The Darts are in your neck of the woods.
After nursing their well deserved hangovers on another sleepy long journey to Pesaro, the girls awake to find themselves to their delight, soundchecking right on the beach at DALLA CIRA only a few yards away from the Adriatic sea. After a stellar showing later to enthusiastic beach goers who were dancing and gyrating in the warm sea breeze under twinkling moonlit stars – and without much pause for thought – proceeded to jump straight into the ocean after their encore ( with fans following their lead into the waters), washing away all the previous night’s sins.
Next evening was the Darsena Club in Castiglione Del Lago, where the band played in more familiar surroundings; a packed nightclub of exuberant rock’n’roll fans getting their fix to a red hot touring band who were at the top of their game – and with only two shows remaining, had more than enough in their tanks to probably trailblaze for another month longer.
With further kilometers of rolling countryside, castles and vineyards, The Darts were spoilt yet again in Ravenna to a beachfront venue at HANA-BI, where they delivered a charming performance in their usual jaw dropping fashion to a mixed crowd of rockers, surfers and holidaymakers in the broad daylight hours. Later, Nicole and Michelle (in their black slips) proceeded to play many rounds of beach volleyball until the wee hours of the morning with their tour manager keeping score throughout.
With a slight heaviness weighing on their hearts at the thought of their final show in Piacenzza at DANNY SAYS, the girls saved their best for last, pulling out all the stops from start to finish, running through their set like a well oiled machine.
It must be said, that many of punters and pundits throughout this tour, have noted just how much “fun” the girls inject into their performances, adding the extra fueling power to an already highly energised offering. Whether it’s the heavy- steady, throbbing anchor of Christina’s bass lines, the super-tight, primal-feel beat drive of Rikki’s drumming, the layers of loose freak-fuzzed riffage from Michelle’s guitar, or the organ pounding melodies and sultry, chanteuse-like vocals from Nicole; The Darts truly are pure ‘star power’ rock generators who will be burning through town, at a venue near you!
Coming Soon! The Darts debut LP on Dirty Water Records
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