A fresh coat of snow welcomed Southern California’s Delta Spirit to the Metro Saturday night. Despite the weather, they seemed right at home. The band was in full swing, showcasing their unique blend of indie revival-style rock. They injected energy from the start, pounding on two sets of drums as they burst into “John Henry” from their latest record, Waits Room EP. Frontman/guitarist Mathew Vasquez was magnetic, capturing the crowd with his boozy embrace as the rest of the band let loose, combining keys, strings and percussion with just enough sloppiness to strike a chord.
Though still heavy, “White Table” and “Ransom Man” showed the band’s softer side, and proved a rousing one-two punch. Together they formed a call-to-arms clap affair with a steady attack of heavy jamming. “St. Francis” was a harmonica-inspired anthem driven by Vazquez’s gritty howl, while “Trashcan” found the frontman on piano, playing delicately and singing softly before pounding on the keys and wailing at the top of his lungs.
One of the highs of the night was the hard-charging “Bushwick Blues,” a catchy pop anthem that thrust energy into the crowd. The rhythm section’s heavy grooves and pounding percussion led the way before erupting into a powerful jam session.
The set ended with a double dose of sober lullabies. Three drummers, a tambourine and a maraca carried the rousing “Children.” Then Vasquez told everyone to pay attention as he broke into the “Ballad of Vitality.” The crowd hung on his every word and clapped on command as it went from a slow, somber number into a stirring eruption of sound.
The band left the stage after a little over an hour, but everyone knew they weren’t finished. While their main set was a pendulum of tempo changes and emotion, the encore was all about partying.
They closed with “People, Turn Around!” off their first EP, I think I’ve Found It, and it was the song of the night. Vazquez jumped into the crowd mid-song and made his way to the middle of the floor. He got low to the ground as he sang, “shake it, shake it,” baiting the crowd to dance. Then everyone lowered themselves to their knees, following his lead, clapping as they sang. Even the people in the balcony got down. It was a rare moment of unity that encapsulated the night’s performance and gave even the biggest cynic a reason to believe.
View all the images from Delta Spirit at Metro 12/04/10