10/7/2014 – Paradise Rock Club

The Flannel Society held their annual conference on Tuesday at Paradise Rock Club, and what better way to celebrate the popular soft-woven, plaid-patterned fabric than to invite indie-rockers Delta Spirit to jam out?

Okay, so there is no Flannel Society, but there was probably more flannel at Delta Spirit’s show than in LL Bean stores nationwide. This is 100% not hyperbole.

Flannelled or not, fans were clapping and singing along, unprompted, by song two. Matthew Vasquez, lead singer and guitarist, belted the lyrics to “Tear it Up,” which was released on the band’s eponymous 2012 album, and the fans gave it right back. Delta Spirit was, indeed, tearing it up.

Their music is dense, textured, and precisely cut, like a slice of rock and roll baklava. It is both filling and addicting. With nearly ten years as a band under their belt, Delta Spirit have honed their live sound. The show, which was streamed live on Yahoo and can be replayed, featured heavily songs from their latest release, Into the Wide, the band’s most stormy, saturnine work yet. After all, the album was conceived in a windowless studio that they rebuilt following Hurricane Sandy.

Just when Delta Spirit’s straight-ahead, meticulously tight wash-rock sound was beginning to grow stale, they switched styles. Blues-rock song “Trash Can” provided the necessary reprieve and demonstrated Delta Spirit’s dynamism as a band. They can ballad with the best of the heartland rockers and also sweat out bad boy blues. With Vasquez momentarily hopping on the keys and rolling glissandos up and down the keyboard, he sang, “My love is coming, I can barely hardly wait around.” The crowd, on the other hand, would certainly wait around for however many songs Delta Spirit wanted to gift to them that night—which, fortunately, was many.

Although somewhat gimmicky, Vasquez impressed with one-handed guitar playing on “Take Shelter,” the final song of the set. At this point in the night his on-stage antics were unexceptional if not expected. In other words, the dude’s weird, and it’s awesome.

A few minutes after the band waved goodnight and disappeared off stage, the crowd lured Delta Spirit back for a three-song encore, led by Vasquez who wheeled out a dinky computer chair. He sang and played guitar, spinning around in the chair between verses, before getting up and kicking it over.

When the concert wrapped and people made for the exits, it was clear a good time was had by all. Except for the computer chair.

Poor, poor chair.

Serious Rock, On-stage Tomfoolery: Delta Spirit
  • High production value/tight live sound
  • Demonstrated dynamism by eventually switching styles and playing blues-rock
  • On-stage antics by lead singer Matthew Vasquez were entertaining
  • Songs began to sound similar after a while
  • Vasquez teased crowd with harmonica, but only played a few bars
9Overall Score

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