Oftentimes success can make an otherwise great band naturally grow complacent. After last night it’s abundantly apparent that in no way has any kind of over comfortable assuredness set in for Delta Spirit – a now-veteran rock band (three albums/500+ shows = veteran, right?) have toured like madmen ever since the release of their 2008 debut Ode To Sunshine and this experience continues pay dividends for fans coming out to the show. The intensity Matthew Vasquez brings on a nightly basis makes you a believer, this frontman feels it and if he doesn’t, then he may be one of the better actors living in his home state of California. Last night, after a solid opening set by WATERS, the headliners ran through a powerful 80-minute set, delivering the familiar mix of the high-quality showmanship and constantly-evolving sound that I’ve now come to expect from one of the best live bands going in 2012.
The most pleasant surprise to come out of the show was hearing some of the new songs from their recently-released self-titled record. Notably, the whistle-yell chorus of “Tellin’ The Mind” and the airy, ethereal vibe created by “Yamaha (recalling the plaintive, ethereal sounds of Bon Iver 1.0). The tunes from Ode To Sunshine still retain the power to move mountains, and last night’s performance of the reflective “House Built For Two” had the room captivated and zeroed in to the center of the stage. Vasquez’ teaser verse (doing his best Louis Armstrong vocal impression) of “St. James Infirmary” was an appreciated nod to the Big Easy and the frontman noted that the band always requests management/booking to include NOLA on their itinerary. The set closed with “California” before an encore break and the band returned with the irish toast “Devil Knows You’re Dead”, before closing it out with Vasquez on keys and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winric on garbage lid on the always-enjoyable “Trashcan”.
After watching them wow crowds in Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana and Illinois clubs and captivate audiences on larger festival platforms as a an early buzz band at Bonnaroo and Lolla in ’09, it remains thrill worth looking forward to watch this band develop and perform.
Delta Spirit – Trashcan