Sunday night had the Highdive dancing and rocking like I’ve never seen it. I made it to the Highdive just as the manically charming Peelander Z came on stage. With their bright colors and infectious energy, they immediately had the crowd eating out of their hands. We beat on dog dishes with drumsticks and did the limbo. We called ourselves ugly and sent smiles to the man in yellow. We danced around while a squid jumped rope with Jessi Darlin and was bowled across the Highdive floor. We obediently chanted “MEDIUM RARE!” and “ZEEEEEEEE!” on command. And yes, some people stood at the back, muttered “This is weird,” and went back to the other room to have their drinks in peace. But you know, screw those people I’ve spent two years complaining that Champaign-Urbana shows don’t have nearly enough dancing, and I couldn’t get enough.
Those Darlins rolled right into their spunky southern rock, covering nearly all of their new album, Screws Get Loose, along with a few old favorites and a couple of new songs. It was a mellower Darlins show than I’m used to, probably an effect of the higher stage and the larger audience, but the girls were their usual selves: Jessi, with her maniac stares and her angry scowles, Nikki, dark and downright tough, and Kelley, forever dancing, all smiles.