Mickey Darling takes stage at Terminal West

Indie-pop duo Mickey Darling’s Skyler Molina forms a heart with his fingers in response to a fan shouting, “I love you!” Guitarist Austin Medrano plays his Fender Stratocaster next to Molina as an energetic crowd watches on, adoringly. // Photo courtesy of Jenna Guiher Student Publications

On Jan. 19, indie pop duo Mickey Darling performed at Terminal West to a devoted and energetic audience that seemed dead-set on losing their voices. The band is famous for its authentic bedroom pop mixed with both bold and unserious lyrics, making for addicting sing-along songs that are easy to resonate with.

Mickey Darling consists of Skyler Molina, the “creative” of the band who contributes the vocals and lyrics for their songs. Austin Medrano is the band’s other half, and he supplies the instrumentals while also recording Mickey Darling’s songs.

All of their music is independently released, and the duo intends to keep it that  way to retain the band’s authenticity and autonomy. On their website, Molina and Medrano jokingly call the band, “Our DIY dream so we don’t have to sell our souls to corporate America.”

The concert kicked off with an opening set by indie-alternative band Yin. Their pop-based sound combined with blinding overhead strobe lights made their music overstimulating but exhilarating. Lead singer Jordan Mitchell took a break in between songs to deliver a heartfelt message about Atlanta, the band’s hometown. He said that, as a kid, he came to Terminal West to see some of his favorite bands, and he felt honored to finally play at the venue. The band finished by playing “Trauma,” an obvious crowd favorite. 

Soon after, the second opener, Nick Wagen, began his set with his new single “my bad,” hooking the crowd with his simple yet alluring stage presence. Wagen then posed a question to the audience: “Does anyone like the Cure?” He was met with enthusiastic screams as he covered “Friday I’m in Love.”

A few songs later, Wagen introduced his guitarist, Ben Ironside, who releases his own music under the name Benten. He played his song “second placing,” and the crowd was immediately infatuated. Wagen followed with a few more songs, but the audience’s chant of “Ben! Ben! Ben!” became too much to ignore, so Benten took to the mic again. The audience was extremely supportive, bringing out their phone flashlights to sway to the
beat of the song. 

Wagen took back over, and, to the audience’s delight, he launched into a cover of the Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather.” Wagen ended the set with his upbeat song, “I Want Your Love.”

Two hours into the concert, Mickey Darling finally took to the stage, and instantly, the crowd’s energy exploded as the opening voicemail to the song “Feed My Ego” rang through the venue. Every single person in the audience was jumping up and down as Molina begged them, “Feed my ego / Keep telling me all the ways that you think I’m great.”

Molina prefaced the next track with, “We wrote this song about another band,” as he launched into “Wallows Song.” 

As soon as the chorus hit, he jumped into the audience and pranced his way through the crowd, drawing even more energy from each person as he passed by. 

Mickey Darling’s uniquely intimate connection with the audience was evident as they stopped between songs to accept small gifts from concert-goers throughout the show, including bracelets and stickers. At one point, a girl shouted, “I have something for you!” and she pushed to the front to give Molina a ring pop. They exchanged a few words and a hug before the next song “SAY THAT YOU MISS ME.”

During “Mom Jeans,” Molina flung himself into the crowd again while Medrano continued playing the guitar onstage. Molina skipped through the audience, often finding particularly enthusiastic fans and singing directly to them.

Later that night, the band announced that they were going to sing an unreleased song called “Blah Blah Blah,” and they invited Nick Wagen and Benten up on stage to perform with them. The four of them jumped and frolicked on stage, undeniably having a great time with each other. Mickey Darling then disclosed that the song would drop on Feb. 9 and playfully encouraged everyone to put the date into their phone calendars.

Mickey Darling carried on with “VROOM VROOM,” a hilarious fan-favorite. Molina sang, “Vroom vroom, I’m in me mum’s car,” referencing an old meme from Vine recognizable to every Gen Z audience member. 

When Mickey Darling announced that they only had one more song, the excitement in the venue escalated as the crowd shouted “Reverse Cowgirl”. Someone threw a sparkly, pink cowboy hat onto the stage, and Medrano donned the hat as the duo gave in and played their most popular song. The energy in the room reached its peak as everyone jumped in time to the cowbell beat. The song faded out, and Mickey Darling gave a final bow together as a band
and exited the stage.

Mickey Darling’s genuine and personal stage presence made for an unforgettable show, and the band proved to be a beautiful testament to the idea that success is attainable for independent artists without a big-name record label.