I seem to have spent a lot of time out at hard rock and metal gigs recently so it was nice this past Friday to tone things down a little and go and check out The Delta Rhythm.
It’s at this point where I normally give a shout out to any bands that impressed me lower down the bill but I have to say that nothing really caught my eye on Friday. It’s probably the first time that that’s happened but I really wasn’t impressed with any of the support acts if I’m being totally honest, but hey ho, you win some you lose some.
The band opened up their set with Can You See and in many ways they couldn’t have picked a better track to set things off with. I say that because within pretty much 30 seconds anyone who hadn’t seen the band before would know exactly what they are all about and that is quality music, not confined to one genre but full of bucket loads of rhythm. On this track in particular the bass spends the entirety of the piece weaving elegant patterns across the rich tapestry of rhythms and melodies below. You can’t help but be moved by it, it’s fantastic. (For those less artistically inclined, that means that the bassline was really cool)
Following track Singing The Blues from the band’s first EP is always a favourite and it was skipped through at lightening quick pace. The audience had begun to really shuffle forward by this point with frontwoman Sami Cornick’s happy go lucky charm forming an instant rapport. One of the interesting things about the band has been their progression from a more bluesy style towards a rockier sound on their last record and that was showcased brilliantly by Come Out To Play. While still carrying all of the band’s hallmarks the grittier guitar work gives the song a bit of an added edge.
This was followed by a new track called My Year and judging by the reaction from the audience I think it’s a track that will be sticking around for a while yet. The opening riff is simple enough but brilliantly effective and I like the way that everything drops away for the hook where Cornick is assisted with harmonies from bassist Goodall before things reach a rockier finale.
A fine rendition of Himalayan by Band of Skulls was next up as the band proved once again that they have the most appropriate name in music as they have rhythm for days!
Better Things saw not only one of the funnier and least heartfelt dedications in memory but also the arrival of a keyboard for the first time on the night. The slight slowing of the pace helped maintain the set’s great ebb and flow and the song has a whole was just so smooth. I must also give a shout out to the man who was stood in front of me at this point as during the brief keyboard solo he broke into what can only be described as some rather enthusiastic air-keyboard action. (I shit you not ladies and gentlemen) That man, whoever you are, I applaud you.
We were firmly into the 2nd half of the performance by now but the tunes were flying by as the band weaved and grooved their way through the Oasis tinged intro on No One’s Home and the grandstand chorus which characterises Won’t Be Saved. Now as good as the performance had been to this point the penultimate track was the undoubted highlight.
Never Know is a brand new song and it is without question the best thing that these 4 guys have written. The track is structured like a Guns N Roses epic and it delivers as well as one. There’s slow keyboard led ballad sections, short bass solos, nifty little drum fills and a killer breakdown. I am in love with this song; even if I had a girlfriend I would still love this track more than said girl. The response of the audience can only be described as rapturous. In future I’d personally I’d be tempted to end the show on this song as it’s got that kind of grand feeling but as it was the closer in this instance was the always crowd pleasing Ticking Bomb which was still a mighty fine finale.
As you’ve probably noticed I thought this performance was absolutely brilliant fun. You could see that the band were enjoying themselves on stage and the enthusiasm just spread. The band know their audience and more importantly know how to interact with them. To a man, woman and child each one of them went home happy.
By no means are The Delta Rhythm the flashiest band in the world. They haven’t got crunching riffs, soaring vocals and drums hard enough to knock down buildings. But what they do have is an ability to write great songs, work a crowd and more enthusiasm and rhythm than you can shake a stick at. (Yes that was an Ian Dury and The Blockheads reference) They’ll put a smile on your face and an extra spring in your step and for me that’s exactly what live music is all about.
Bravo Delta Rhythm. Bravo.