It was one of those nights – a couple of months back – when you just go out for a drink, not really caring if there’s a band playing or not. Indeed, the Doubledown puts on free bands every night, generally hit and miss, sometimes good, occasionally great, but often just a background noise, and such was the case for Dark Water Rebellion. We sat at the bar and talked through the first few songs, paying them scant attention.
But little by little the talking stopped, and the realisation dawned that something very special was going on here. There were shades of Monster Magnet, perhaps, some Velvet Underground, maybe, but certainly something more than just a background noise. And the deeper they got into the set, the deeper the swamp of their sound became, infused with the dark voodoo of New Orleans, the snake-handling fervour of Appalachia, Gothic for want of a better word. They played to no more than a dozen people, but each one became a fan.
Tonight Dark Water Rebellion return to the Doubledown, another stop on their seemingly endless tour of any place that will have them, and we arrive early, bringing friends to check them out. Since they last played here there’s been a chance to go online and become familiar with the songs, and they open with Care, a slow-burning Southern blues tune, laced with banjo picking and ghostly harmonies. It is, quite simply, perfection, and just one of several instant classics, each delivered with unabashed passion.
On reflection, the reference points change, less Monster Magnet and more Miraculous Mule, less Velvet Underground and more Desert Sessions, but nonetheless brilliant, especially in songs like Reopened Wound, Comfort Me, the stunning I Take Care Of My Kids, and the closing hypnotic stomp of Wildfire. Rarely do you stumble across a band of such exceptional talent by accident, but there is no doubt that we should stumble more often. Dark waters run deep indeed.