It was a welcome return for Sarah Darling to the UK and from the moment she hit the stage it was immediately apparent that this was a new phase of career about to start. Firstly she came armed with a completely new batch of songs, this was very much a set that would be looking forward, not looking to rest on former glories, secondly she came with a band ready to deliver these tunes, including a keyboard player supplying a glorious organ sound.
Naturally there was time for a quick change of outfit since her earlier appearance at the Songwriters Round where she had performed a solo version of latest single "Pretender", it was great then but moved to another level given the support of the full band. If some of her previous bands have lacked one thing it was the ability to generate volume - no such issues today!
It has been over two and a half years since Sarah last played on a UK stage and she seemed hungrier than ever to get these new songs out into the world. There was a definite classy pop sound with "Hungover" while a guitar and keyboard intro set the atmosphere perfectly for "I Want It With You".
A big piano intro set the scene for "Waves", it saw Sarah take off her guitar and move to holding the microphone. There was a slight echo added to her vocals which perfectly added to the overall sound.
An almost calypso sound came with "Your Girl Home Tonight", while the organ sound on "Hippies & Cowboys" was an absolute delight. This was a lot of new material to take in however each song already sounded like an old favourite.
One song already previewed earlier in the day was "Red Mustang", like "Pretender" it had wowed in the solo format but with the band supplying the guitar and rich organ sound, this tune rocked. For a song that has such a summery feel it's a shame that we'll have to wait until the end of the year until we hear it properly. Throughout Sarah was in fine form, the louder band giving her an opportunity to show that she can easily front a rocking band with some ease.
The Darling EP is available now
The Long Road Festival will return 25th-27th August 2023.