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The Delta Rhythm Live @ The Court House – 30th May 2014

Nearly a month ago now I reviewed an EP called Break The Surface which just happens to be the latest project from Birmingham based The Delta Rhythm. In this review I basically spent nearly 700 words going ‘You know what this record is bloody amazing go out and get it.’ So obviously when the chance came for me to go and see them live this was an opportunity I was not going to miss. My expectations for this gig were extremely high due to the quality of the EP, plus I was looking forward to hearing how the recordings translated into a live performance. So with all that in mind I made my way down to The Court House in Dudley last night for what promised to be a great night.

One of the things that I always look for when I go and see a band after hearing a recording is how the vocal stacks up live compared to how it sounds on the record. After all there is so much magic that can be performed in a studio these days any vocal frailties can be filtered out so ‘live’ is still the acid test. Within 20 seconds of opener ‘Can See You’ all of those questions were answered as not only the vocal but the band as a whole started with gloriously rocky intent.

‘Come Out To Play’ is a far more bass driven affair, with a thick intro laying the foundations for the rest of the track. It also gives Cornick a chance to display the full range of her vocal talents, which she does in impressive fashion. The track and the set as a whole has been rockier than I was expecting and is a bit of a departure from the EP but this sound definitely suits the band down to the ground.

Up next was the first track to be taken from the EP, the brilliantly old school and melodic ‘Singing The Blues.’ The highest praise I can give is that the track sounds exactly as it did on the record, with the band perfectly in tune with one another, everything is totally on point. They are obviously very well drilled and well prepared and you can really see the results of this hard work shining through.

‘Fall’ was the first track that the band wrote as a group, and falls somewhere between Oasis and something from The Stooges. (That’s one hell of a place to fall!) Like all of the best Oasis tracks it has a great chorus and a sing-along quality, while the gravely tones of the bass and guitar give the track a Stooges style edge. For the next song the band went right to the other end of their spectrum as ‘Won’t Be Saved’ is the most recent song that the band have put together. There are echoes of Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’ as the track slowly grinds into life. This is probably the heaviest track of the entire set and it will be interesting to see whether this is a one off or a new heavier more rocky direction for the band.

I was already enjoying the set immensely but when the opening chords of ‘Better Things’ my smile grew even wider. This track is my favourite from the EP and it didn’t disappoint. Keyboards were introduced for the first time on the night and added to proceedings brilliantly. This track is more of a ballad and by positioning it here the set has a brilliant ebb and flow, full of gentle ups and downs. Personally this was probably my highlight of the night and the reaction from the enthusiastic audience showed that I wasn’t alone.

Penultimate track ‘No One’s Home’ saw the tempo increase once again but the keyboards remained.  I know I keep going on about the keyboards but with some bands it just feels like they are crowbarred in simply because someone can play, but here they serve a real purpose and are a nice addition.

Final track ‘Ticking Bomb’ sounded heavier than it did on the EP but still sounded fantastic. Part way through pretty much everything dropped away leaving the drums to build the track up once more which definitely added something. The guitar work from….was also a highlight.

A few days ago it was announced that bassist Ben… would be leaving the group after this gig and all night it felt like the rest of the band were determined to make sure that he went out with a bang. The band looked totally at ease for the whole time that they were on stage, everything seemed to come really naturally and they made an incredibly impressive performance look very easy.

The band flipped from rock to blues touching all the bases in-between with consummate ease, turning in an incredibly enjoyable and professional performance. They simply didn’t put a foot wrong all night. A new bassist will be on the cards and who knows how that will affect the band dynamic and their sound as a whole, but what’s for certain is that if this performance is anything to go by they have laid the foundations for something very very special.

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