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Delta Spirit Converts the Masses

July 1st, 2010

Delta Spirit – The Bowery Ballroom – June 30, 2010

(Photo: Jared Levy)

(Photo: Jared Levy)

Three months ago the band YACHT played a sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom. With a carefully constructed stage presence and songs utilizing loops and backtracks, they navigated through a set designed to meet their audience’s expectations. Most attendees, already familiar with the band’s music, heard the songs they wanted to hear and undoubtedly left satisfied. One striking moment, though, came when midway through their performance frontman Jona Bechtolt descended into the crowd to preach a performative gospel. Many people joined in the communal experience, but Bechtolt failed to rally a consensus. Yet, while one group could sell out a show without unfaltering loyalty, last night Delta Spirit made believers of their capacity crowd, capturing the audience with passionate playing and inexhaustible energy.

It is not an understatement to say that the pure joy people experienced during Delta Spirit’s hour-plus set was both entirely shocking and incredibly refreshing. Sandwiched between a middle-aged man who emphatically sung along with every lyric and a thoroughly drunk friend of the band, I stood in wonder as Delta Spirit conjured up unrelenting energy, feeding off the crowd and expelling back upturned folk and Americana. Two moments will stand out in my mind from this show: lead singer Matthew Vasquez’s rendition of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” bleeding into Ode to Sunshine’s “Trashcan” (complete with trash-lid-banging accompaniment) and Vasquez effortlessly persuading the entire audience to kneel and rise to a cover of the Isley Brother’s “Shout.” If Delta Spirit continues to create this type of performance nightly, seeing this band will become a can’t-miss event. —Jared Levy

(Tonight’s Delta Spirit show at Music Hall of Williamsburg is sold out.)