Great Scott is a dark bar with high ceilings, a stage outfitted with giant amps, and a grungy urban feel – just the place you would expect Nashville alt-rock band Those Darlins to be playing at. The band members consist of two frontwomen with guitars, Jessi Zazu and Nikki Kvarnes, bassist Adrian Barrera, and drummer Linwood Regensburg. Together, these musicians pulled off a badass live rock show with songs that otherwise sound mellow on their latest album, Blur The Line.

Zazu, who already sings with a raw and slightly raspy voice, made her voice even rougher so that it sounded almost angry. Despite her small frame and short stature, Zazu’s powerful voice created an intriguing on-stage presence. Her large doe eyes created an intensity between performer and audience that could only be experienced live. In particular, during the song “Mystic Mind,” Zazu moved up to the front of the stage, opened her eyes as wide as she could, and stared into the souls of as many audience members as possible all while still strumming away on the guitar. It was freaky experience only appropriate for a Those Darlins show. It was also no surprise then when Zazu started scrubbing up and down her fretboard with a wine bottle.

In contrast to Zazu, Kvarnes’ voice is so smooth that you would almost expect her to be singing jazz tunes. But her Joan Jett haircut and crunchy guitar noise clearly shows that this girl was meant to be in rock n’ roll. She definitely knows how to perform like one, setting aside the guitar for a moment to pull the mic out of the stand and belt out Night Jogger. During In The Wilderness as the whole band sang along for the chorus, Kvarnes’ voice was still the most prominent, making the song an even more badass rock anthem than it already is.

Local band Thick Shakes was the first opening band of the night. Married couple Lindsay and Tim make up two of the three band members, with Tim on guitar and Lindsay on bass and lead vocals. Their music is similar to that of Those Darlins, which made them a fitting opening band choice. However, while Those Darlins had their quieter, more melancholy songs like “Oh God,” Thick Shakes’ slow-jam “Polyommatus Blues” was anything but mellow, proving just how intense these guys are during their live set.

Filling in the middle section of the show was Gambles, a solo Matthew Daniel Siskin on acoustic guitar that acted as the relaxed portion of the night. His simple strumming and echoey vocals were surprisingly enrapturing, perhaps because of his exceptional effort to connect with his audience. The highlight from this Bob Dylan doppelganger’s set was when he unplugged his guitar, hopped off stage, and asked the audience to gather close around him while he played the rest of his set. This closeness felt very intimate and emotional, especially as he played a song inspired by the Boston bombings. Gambles’ simple yet powerful set showed that you don’t need much to be a talented musician and captivating performer.

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