Indie rock duo Durry are the underdog story that everyone is rooting for. After over a decade of trying to make it in music, singer-songwriter Austin Durry bounced between odd jobs and an idle band with the hopes of making it out of his suburban hometown of Burnsville, Minnesota. It wasn’t until the forced solitude of the pandemic in 2020 that ultimately led to the formation of Durry, when Austin and his sister Taryn (younger by seven years) moved back into their family home and began a DIY-approach to making music in their parent’s basement.
An unfinished demo of their song “Who’s Laughing Now” went viral online in the early days of COVID, with people everywhere relating to the coming-of-age narrative that resonated so deeply during a time that felt hopeless. Without much else to do, the duo finished the song and filmed a music video in their parents’ garage and released it within 3 days. Suddenly, Durry became a name on the forefront of “For You Pages” and trending soundbites.
Now, on their high-selling North American tour supporting their debut album Suburban Legend (September 8) Durry are busting out of the basement and into packed-clubs across the country. Last Thursday night, the group returned to Boston’s Brighton Music Hall after last playing a now-closed restaurant in 2021.
“Last time we played Boston, it was in like a 100 capacity restaurant,” laughed Austin at the start of the night. “And we were horribly sick. We should have canceled that show, but we were like ‘we can tough it out.’ Anyway, we are so happy to be back with five times as many people here. And we aren’t sick! So let’s go.”
Durry are a family affair, comprised of siblings Austin and Taryn Durry as the group’s two core members. Austin’s wife Ashely joins in on bass to fill out their live sound, additionally joined by drummer Dane Hoppe. With an audience that felt like a room full of close friends, (fans are affectionally deemed The Losers Club) the group tore into their set with the opening song “Coming of Age,” followed up by “Hasta La Vista Baby” and “Mall Rat.”
A palpable energy filled the 500-capacity club, with moments of interaction and sentiment sprinkled throughout their power-pop hits. While Durry covers both the millennial generation and Gen Z, the crowd they draw also represents an eclectic mix of demographics. Hipsters in beanies and older folk congregated in the back each appreciate the spirit of live music and the earnest sentiment of who Durry are to their core.
Between the cool swagger of “Trauma Queen” and the melodic play of “Worse for Wear,” Durry proved themselves as natural performers. Expertly dominating the crowd, Durry do not need special effects and shimmering aesthetics to fill out their show. It is Austin’s commentary throughout that demands attention and, furthermore, makes the night entirely memorable, beyond the permeably catchy nature of their songs. Taking the time to give some background and the impetus of certain tracks, or sharing their gratitude, Durry present as a band that truly appreciate every bit of success that has befallen them thus far in their still budding career.
Invoking alternative, pop, and pop-punk influences that reverb that 90’s pop-punk energy of acts like Weezer, Sum 41 or Green Day, Durry’s catalogue packs energy, gumption, and razor-sharp lyricism that explores themes around suburbia, capitalism, mundanity, ambition, perseverance, mental health — and America’s favorite eatery, Taco Bell. Austin has a classic voice, emoting the strength and vulnerability held within the rock tunes of Kings of Leon and the pop-punk edge of Yellowcard, a duality that serves him well. It holds just as strong live as it does on record, as does the band’s skillful playing and live improvisations. Austin and Taryn’s dynamic also garnishes the show with moments both sweet and humorous, though the younger of the two shies away from the spotlight more often than not.
“This is the true story of my lovely wife and I, our first date. It was at a little joint called Taco Bell,” Austin introduced another fan favorite, “TKO.” “The story of the song is that I couldn’t afford Taco Bell. It was true at the time. And recently, Taco Bell heard our song and sent us like $500 in gift cards. It’s insane. We’ve been living más lately,” he grinned recounting the full-circle moment before launching into the tune.
Throughout the set, audience members eagerly shouted every lyric with a gumption that paralleled the band’s, clinging onto words that can feel entirely self-proclaimed and relatable. Grown men thrashed and chanted praise for the band, all while clinging onto every word. It proved evident very early on, that Durry fans are passionately invested in the band’s music.
“So we made all these rock and roll songs, but then we made this one song that was just adorable, more adorable than all the rest,” said Austin during a moment of repose. “And that one ended up going off on Instagram. Then tons of people used it in their weddings.” Little did the crowd know at the time, this was a moment foreshadowing an impeding proposal from an audience member.
Diving into the acoustic song with a hearty strum, the crowd quickly joined in with “la la la’s” and sweet sentiments. The song, a short but passionate declaration of love and affection, has since gone on to soundtrack personal moments big and small. It’s a millennial’s love song through and through, referencing Mario Kart (“You’re the last second red shel l/ On the old rainbow road”) and Cocoa Puffs in Durry’s signature tongue-in-cheek style.
As if stamping the love song with a kiss of approval, Durry brought a fan up on stage, taking a moment to step into the shadows while he got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. Taking a page from Durry’s book, his metaphor-laden proposal earned a cheerful yes and cemented the night as one to remember for a variety of reasons.
The night’s following tracks each left a mark as memorable as the next, but “Encore,” an ode to mental health, the stomping, guitar-driven barn-burner “I’m Fine (No Really)” and breakout hit “Who’s Laughing Now” stood out as highlights. While their interactions with each other were limited, the four-piece fully embraced the crowd and created an immersive environment that fueled the show’s energy. A handful of fans even waved homemade signs in the air and screamed for their favorite tracks to be heard.
Wrapping up the set with another speech of gratitude, their genuine appreciation was evident. “I tried and tried for like 12 years, then a little song came along called ‘Who’s Laughing Now’. And it proceeded to, along with all of you and the support of the shares and the likes, it gave us a career,” Austin confessed to deafening cheers before launching into the scream-worthy song. “My mama always said I would regret it / If I ever got a tattoo” the crowd shouted the first lyrics with such fervor, he pulled the microphone back to let the fans echo his own words.
With an effortless assertion, the performance of the song beautifully encapsulated the crux of the human experience; an earmark that differentiates Durry’s work from others in the modern pop-rock landscape. After years of perseverance, it all felt like it had culminated to that very moment and became a unified experience shared together.
After demands of “one more song,” the group concluded their set with a cover of Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 hit “The Middle,” a track that Durry very plausibly could have written themselves, and fan-favorite “Big Boy,” which fans demanded to hear. Durry ended the night on a high note that left the room buzzing with the feeling of more than just a great show; the fulfillment of a band achieving their dreams, helmed at the hands of the fans that helped get them there.
Durry represent a life not far off from many, and their music chronicles that very ambition. Their debut album and their enigmatic live show succeed in highlighting both Millennial nostalgia and Gen Z present-day anthems that meet you wherever you are in your life.
Durry’s remaining tour dates can be found here.