As is often the case in this town at a weeknight show, the crowd in the pristine Wiltern seemed a tad reserved, subdued and depraved of energy for the first 1/3 of the 90-minute show. However, from the get go, any lack of energy on the floor or up in the balcony was in no way the fault of the headlining band up on stage. Time after time, in venues (and on festival stages) big or small, these guys continue to play shows like their livelihood depends on it. In the early days of Delta Spirit, when the band was playing upwards of 250 shows a year, this may have been the case. While still working hard, hustling out a heavy touring schedule and making their hay on the road, it’s not a risky speculation that the band members probably aren’t too worried about making rent anymore. Despite the fact that Thursday night’s show in the loftier, roomier confines of The Wiltern was by far the largest non-festival setting I had seen the California natives play over the past six years, there was zero sign of complacency with their current status. On this night, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Southern California transplants appeared poised and still hungry to win over any first timers in the room.
At their heaviest (can pinpoint to the extended rave up out of “White Table”), these guys were every bit as fierce and chaotic as they’ve ever been, creating a disorienting dustbowl of sound during explosive peaks of energy. In quick contrast, slower tunes like “Ransom Man” had the room hanging on the oftentimes bleak and pointed lyrics. Never letting a crowd slip from his control, in spite of the less-than-intimate confines, Vazquez’ guttural delivery still seemed to reach even those tucked up in the corners of the scattered balcony.
While the jangly, barroom-style tunes from their debut LP Ode to Sunshine like “Trashcan” and the anthemic “People C’mon” are still staples of the setlist, the show was heavy on the more filled-out, lustrous sound of their self-titled latest studio effort, indicative that this band is rared and ready, wielding a sound booming and powerful enough to play places as large (or larger) than the Wiltern for years to come.
Check out the photo gallery video of “People C’mon” and the jam out of “Bushwick Blues” (a song lead singer Matthew Vazquez dedicated to opening act FIDLAR) below.