Delta Spirit Fitzgerald's April 12, 2012
I am concerned that younger bands these days are not learning the proper value of restraint. It's not even a generational thing, really. I had very little appreciation for or understanding of restraint myself until fairly recently, but a heart attack at age 36 will sober you up pretty quick.
But I see far too many bands who are just trying too hard when it doesn't seem like they need to, or should. Everything must be louder than everything else, and there's no reason to use a simple 4/4 backbeat for a song when a complicated polyrhythm borrowed from Paul Simon's Graceland (or Vampire Weekend's first album) will suffice.
For that matter, why use just a single drum kit when you can drag half your average high-school band hall's percussion section onstage with you? (I blame Arcade Fire.) You could have opened a decent-size music store with all the keyboards, drum pads, pedals and other gear Delta Spirit brought to their show at Fitz Thursday night.
Luckily, all of that crap only halfway got in the way of the show.
Delta Spirit is a talented, promising young five-piece that recently moved from Long Beach, Calif., to Brooklyn and released their third album, Delta Spirit, last month. Houston loves them. Delta Spirit has only been around seven years, arising from the ashes of the appropriately named emo band Noise Ratchet, but probably played Walter's on Washington a half-dozen times and packed Fitz to the rafters this one.
They play a blend of steroidal California folk-rock and darker modern-rock that veers dangerously close to goth in some places. Naturally, I liked the songs like "California" that reminded me of the Cure ("Boys Don't Cry," not "Fascination Street") more than the ones like "Tear It Up" that sparked Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. They have a strong kinship with their fellow former San Diegan Tom Waits, at least judging by "People C'Mon."
Delta Spirit enjoys a bit of classic rock as well. "Parade" couldn't decide whether it wanted to be David Bowie or something even glammier (The Sweet, maybe?), but the band sounded like they were having fun trying to make up their minds. Both "Idaho" and "Bushwick Blues" were ready-made garage-pop winners.
Singer Matt Vazquez is an obvious heartbreaker and budding demagogue, leading the crowd in several singalongs and joining them in the audience by the end of the night. He got so excited it looked like he tried to grab one of the stage lights near the very end, so I guess he's lucky he didn't burn himself. Those things are hot.
Enjoy festival season, boys.
Personal Bias: This is probably one of those "kids these days" reviews, I realize.
The Crowd: Jason the photographer and I may have been the only two males in the building wearing long pants.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Great jam!!"
Random Notebook Dump: Vazquez may have some kind of connection to Texas. I couldn't quite hear exactly what he said, but I think he dedicated the sad country waltz "House Built For Two" to his mother in Dripping Springs. Whatever he said, it might have been the best song of the night.
Empty House White Table Strange Vine Tear It Up Idaho Parade Tellin' the Mind Time Bomb House Built for Two Bushwick Blues People C'Mon Yamaha Children California
Devil Knows You're Dead Money Saves Trash Can