Review (+ pics, videos, audio, setlist): Delta Spirit @ Union Transfer (twice)

Delta Spirit put on a pretty fantastic show Friday night at Union Transfer, less than twelve hours after performing a short set to a sold out lunch crowd on XPN. They began melting faces (again) around 10:15, kicking things off with “Empty House,” which also opens their new self-titled album. They rocked their way through the percussive “White Table” next, followed by “Strange Vine” and their new Strokes-y tune “Tear It Up.”

The energy and excitement from both the band and the crowd could be felt throughout the venue. The band’s new album has turned the five-piece into an all-out rock band, intensifying their already-intense live set, now without an acoustic guitar in sight. Delta Spirit, the album, is driven by the band’s tight rhythm section (Brandon Young on drums and Jon Jameson on bass) and the new disc rarely lacks energy. Delta Spirit, as a live band, is driven by the same force and propelled by frontman Matthew Vasquez’s unique voice and unmatched enthusiasm (even at the early free show Matt was going fairly nuts).

After taking things easy for a couple of songs with “Time Bomb” and “House Built for Two,” they picked things back up again with “People C’Mon” and finally blew the roof off with “Bushiwck Blues,” perhaps their biggest hit (and absolutely their best song). I was surprised that they so quickly went back to a low-key song (“Yamaha”), expecting them to take the momentum and run with it through the end of the set. But, as always, things didn’t stay quiet for too long.

The main surprise (and disappointment) of the night was the band pushing aside most of History From Below. Eight of the seventeen songs they played were from their new album, with six more from their debut album Ode to Sunshine. That left only three songs for their breakout album, History From Below. Unfortunately, that meant some really great songs, like “Golden State” and “911,” were left warming the bench. They’ve got so many great songs across all three albums (not to mention their awesome debut EP) that they could have easily played another three or four without losing the crowd (and another nine or ten without losing me).

The show came to an all-too-soon end around 11:30 with an encore trio of “Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “Money Saves,” and “Trashcan.” Personally, I was dreaming they’d bust out “Bushwick Blues” for a second performance, or at the very least fit “Golden State” or “Otherside” into the encore mix. But, alas, there’s only so much time in a set, and hearing “Blues” twice in one day is good enough (I guess). While I wish there had been more, seventy-five minutes and seventeen songs is plenty of time for Delta Spirit to make one’s face melt completely onto the Union Transfer floor.

Below, check out some pics from both the mid-day free show (for XPN’s weekly Free at Noon series) and the main nighttime show, as well as videos and setlists from both. You can also stream the whole Free at Noon set at NPR.org. And, if you haven’t already, stream their new album in full here.

Late show

Free at Noon

Delta Spirit @ Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA – Friday, March 30, 2012
01 Empty House
02 White Table
03 Strange Vine
04 Tear It Up
05 Idaho
06 Parade
07 Telling the Mind
08 Time Bomb
09 House Built for Two
10 People C’mon
11 Bushwick Blues (video)
12 Yamaha
13 Children
14 California (video)
—–encore break——
15 Devil Knows Your Dead
16 Money Saves
17 Trashcan (video)

Delta Spirit @ Union Transfer – XPN Free at Noon – Philadelphia, PA – Friday, March 30, 2012
01 Empty House (video)
02 White Table (video)
03 Money Saves (video)
04 People C’mon (video)
05 Bushwick Blues (video)
06 Tear It Up (video)
07 Time Bomb (video)
08 California (video)

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  • http://profiles.google.com/becky219 BeckEye

    Indeed, that was a great show. I actually liked Yamaha a lot better live than the album version…it had a little more bite to it.