Tag Archives: Delta Spirit


Catch Future Thieves Early at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday Night

August 7th, 2017

Elliot Collett (vocals and guitar), Austin McCool (guitar), Nick Goss (drums) and Gianni Gibson (drums) have been making ethereal alternative rock—in the vein of Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket and Delta Spirit—ever since forming Future Thieves four years ago in Nashville, Tenn. Their debut full-length, Horizon Line (stream it below), arrived in 2015. And earlier this year, Future Thieves (above, performing “Soon”) put out Live at Blue Rock (stream it below), which Guitar World calls a “collection of turbo-charged Americana tunes.” Now out on the road, they play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Funky Bronx four-piece Thelvnguage open the show.


Three Nights of Shovels & Rope in New York City

October 14th, 2016

As Shovels & Rope, married singer-songwriters (and multi-instrumentalists) Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent make country and bluegrass music from a folk-rock perspective. Thanks to their harmonies, they’ve earned comparisons to Johnny and June Carter Cash. And thanks to early tours with the likes of the Felice Brothers and Justin Townes Earle, the Charleston, S.C., duo became road warriors before entering the studio to record their acclaimed first LP, O’ Be Joyful (stream it below), out in 2012. Their latest LP, Little Seeds (stream it below), just came out last Friday, and it’s “an album of growth in every way,” according to PopMatters. “Hearst and Trent have grown emotionally through the joys and sorrows of recent years. Playing all the instruments here, they demonstrate their continuing growth as musicians. And Trent’s production, too, shows incredible depth and agility. The sound of this record is raw and alive. It’s a hell of a ride.” Find out how the new music sounds live when Shovels & Rope (above, performing “I Know” for KXT FM) play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Monday and The Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday and Wednesday. And as an added bonus, Delta Spirit frontman Matthew Logan Vasquez opens each show.


Matthew Logan Vasquez Brings Fist-Pumping Fun to Mercury Lounge

April 28th, 2016

Matthew Logan Vasquez is best known for leading the always-ready-to-rage rock band Delta Spirit—and as the middle-named middle brother in the short-lived folkin’ supergroup Middle Brother—so you figure he might do the typical thing and go the quiet, acoustic singer-songwriter route with his first solo LP. Nope, not even close. Vasquez brings his unbridled energy and uniquely American rock and roll even further on Solicitor Returns. He plays most of the instruments on the album, a feat that may be difficult to reproduce when he plays the late set at Mercury Lounge this Friday night. Shouldn’t matter: No matter who he’s playing with, when Vasquez (above, performing “Personal” for Cardinal Sessions) is onstage, fist-pumpin’ good times are sure to be had. Reverend Baron and Dustin Lovelis open the show. —A. Stein | @Neddyo


Delta Spirit and Friends Come to Warsaw Tomorrow Night

August 6th, 2015

Charismatic frontman Matt Vasquez (vocals and guitar), Jon Jameson (bass), Brandon Young (drums), Kelly Winrich (keys and vocals) and Will McLaren (guitar) formed the soulful Americana five-piece Delta Spirit (above, performing “From Now On” for KUTX FM) a decade ago in San Diego. They won over fans the old-fashioned way, crisscrossing the country—often with their musical brothers-in-arms Deer Tick and Dawes—and becoming known for arena-ready songs and energetic, leave-it-all-onstage live shows, not to mention their quality discography, which includes four well-received studio full-lengths. The most recent of which, Into the Wide (stream it below), came out last year. Per Consequence of Sound, “They’ve successfully expanded their range without it feeling unnatural. The change is never forced; they just have faith in their intuition. That’s what led them to Brooklyn, which led them to Into the Wide. Wherever those instincts take them next, they should trust it.” And not only do Delta Spirit play Warsaw tomorrow, but they’re also bring some friends with them: MGMT’s James Richardson, Guards’ Loren Humphrey, Cults’ Brian Oblivion, Madeline Follin and Gabe Rodriguez, and Jessica Lea Mayfield.


Dawes and First Aid Kit Play SummerStage on Monday Night

July 24th, 2015

Since forming in Southern California six years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and four albums—including this year’s All Your Favorite Bands (stream it below), which Rolling Stone called “their best LP” and American Songwriter labeled “an inspired record full of space, swagger and warm, analog glow”—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “Things Happen” on Late Show with David Letterman) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty.

Sisters Johanna Söderberg (vocals and synth) and Klara Söderberg (vocals and guitar) launched their harmonies-laden acoustic-folk band, First Aid Kit, eight years ago in Sweden, earning comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom in the process. Now rounded out by Melvin Duffy (pedal-steel guitar) and Scott Simpson (drums), First Aid Kit (below, performing “Stay Gold” on Conan) put out their third studio album, Stay Gold (stream it below), which the New Yorker calls their “most mature and opulent work to date,” in 2014. They also provided backing vocals on Conor Oberst’s sixth solo album, Upside Down Mountain, last year, while Dawes backed Oberst when he performed the new material live. And now Dawes and First Aid Kit team up as a terrific double bill to play SummerStage in Central Park on Monday night.


Delta Spirit Prove That Three Is Better Than One

October 2nd, 2014

Delta Spirit – The Bowery Ballroom – October 1, 2014

Delta Spirit – The Bowery Ballroom – October 1, 2014
Why celebrate the release of your new album with one show when you can do it with three? That was the mindset of Delta Spirit, who last night played the second of three sold-out shows at three different venues. This one was in The Bowery Ballroom, which was buzzing after a rollicking opening set from Streets of Laredo. The stage was set up with long floor-to-ceiling white slats reminiscent of a giant picket fence. Nothing more simple, quaint America than a white picket fence, but the reality was much more interesting as the slats became a segmented screen for a series of on-the-fly projections that alternated between arty, dreamlike and full-on psychedelic. Similarly, the band taking the stage: guitars, drums, bass and a little keyboard—nothing more simple, quaint American rock and roll than that. Again, the truth was infinitely more interesting, as Delta Spirit proved to be a force, putting on one of the better rock and roll shows I’ve seen this year.

They opened with a one-two punch of “From Now On” and “Tear It Up,” the former from their new album, Into the Wide, and the latter from their 2012 self-titled release. It was the equivalent of kicking down the door and bursting into the room guns a-blazing. There was a constant churl of electric guitar from William McLaren as Matt Vasquez riled up the crowd like only the best frontmen can. If things seemed a bit more intense during that second song, they were. As Kelly Winrich hopped on a second drum kit, joining Brandon Young in kicking things up a few notches. From there, the crowd was completely in the band’s hands, compelled to sing and clap along as the five-piece mixed up new material and old. As the digital projections spiraled behind them, Vasquez and Co. kept things intriguing without falling back on long guitar solos or extended rock jams. It was a combination of great songs, choreographed interplay among bass, guitar, drums and keys, and just pure manic energy that proved to be totally irresistible.

A highlight middle section centered on “Live On” seemed propelled almost entirely on Jonathan Jameson’s superlative bass playing. Around the time when most Bowery headliners announce their last song, Vasquez informed the excited audience that they were about halfway done. And while that wasn’t exactly true, the next 30 minutes, kicked off by “Language of the Dead,” played out like one long epic closing number: a master course and total deconstruction of how to put on a great rock show. “Children” was the highlight of the closeout, a great display of dynamics, the band waxing and waning as little digital mites buzzed around a surreal cityscape behind them. The encore centered on the new LP’s fiery title track, Vasquez belting out the lyrics with plenty of emotion left in his tank. Of course, the encore featured a trio of rockers total, because why close a show like that with one song when you can do it with three? —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Dawes Play Terminal 5 with Shovels & Rope Tomorrow Night

June 21st, 2013

Since forming in Southern California four years ago, the guys in Dawes—Taylor Goldsmith (vocals and guitar), Wylie Gelber (bass), Griffin Goldsmith (drums) and Tay Strathairn (keys)—have won over fans across the land with their high-energy live shows and three albums—North Hills, Nothing Is Wrong and this year’s Stories Don’t End (stream it below)—filled with tightly written songs, quality harmonies and some good old-fashioned guitar love. But one of the most interesting things about Dawes (above, doing “If I Wanted Someone” at last year’s Lollapalooza) is the vast array of bands and musicians with whom they’ve been associated. They’ve been compared to the Band, for their lyrics, and Crosby, Stills & Nash, for their harmonies. They’ve crisscrossed the country and teamed up with their musical brothers-in-arms, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. And in the band’s infancy, they took part in jam sessions at Jonathan Wilson’s house with the likes of Chris Robinson, Benmont Tench and Conor Oberst. But after finding success, Dawes went on to back some of the biggest names in rock royalty, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne and John Fogerty. Plus, at the most epic night of music The House List has ever had the privilege to witness, they inspired one of the loudest sing-alongs Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble had seen with their anthemic “When My Time Comes.” But, really, why are we telling you all this? So you don’t miss them with talented indie-folk duo Shovels & Rope tomorrow night at Terminal 5.


Petty Fest – Webster Hall – October 24, 2012

October 25th, 2012

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com


Cut Loose with the Music of Tom Petty Tonight at Webster Hall

October 24th, 2012

You know who has a million great songs you probably already know by heart? Tom Petty. The guy’s a legendary hitmaker who’s been making music to raucously sing along to since 1976. Blues, roots, rock, country. You name it, he’s done it. And tonight at Webster Hall, the Cabin Down Below Band—the same guys behind Dylan Fest and Stones Fest—are having a party to celebrate his music. And they won’t go it alone. Far from it! Expect guests galore, like Father John Misty, Andrew W.K., Justin Townes Earle, Delta Spirit, Karen Elson, Ryan Miller of Guster, Jody Porter of Fountains of Wayne, Caveman, Petter Ericson Stakee of Alberta Cross and lots, lots more. As an added bonus, 100 percent of ticket proceeds will benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund and the Musicians Cancer Fund. And a word of advice: You might want to take a sick day tomorrow.


Dr. Dog, Predictably Excellent

September 21st, 2012

Dr. Dog – Rumsey Playfield – September 20, 2012

Dependability is an underrated virtue for a rock band, almost necessarily so. It’s easy to take for granted when a group consistently performs excellently. There are the notable exceptions—Bruce Springsteen, U2 and, increasingly so, the Flaming Lips—but for the most part, the bands that trot out day by day to entertain with predictable flair are seen as owing something, rather than appreciated for their reliability. Still, every night can feel special in its own way, and last night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, Dr. Dog, one of rock’s soon-to-be steady hands, played a strong set of favorites as well as providing some signature moments.

Dr. Dog is Philadelphia’s most notable indie-rock band, comprised of Toby Leaman (bass guitar and lead vocals), Scott McMicken (lead guitar and lead vocals), Frank McElroy (rhythm guitar), Zach Miller (keyboard) and Eric Slick (drums). Over the course of seven albums, most recently Be the Void, they have created and perfected a sound that borrows familiar classic-rock elements, such as the Beatles’ and Beach Boys’ harmonies and pop maximalism, in addition to adding their own unique touch. The vocal interplay between Leaman and McMicken is thrilling: Leaman growls and yells while McMicken exercises his falsetto. And with a growing catalog of favorites, the group is able to play extended crowd-pleasing shows.

On Thursday night, Dr. Dog began with Shame, Shame’s “Shadow People.” They played behind an altered American flag with neon colors and only three stars (the symbolism escaped me). Quickly, they settled into the pattern of slow opening verses leading to huge climactic choruses, with harmonized oohs and aahs. Some cute touches were added to “I Only Wear Blue” and “The Old Days” when an electronic effect such as a horse nay and hand claps were added. But the big and memorable moment came when Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez stumbled onto the stage during “Worst Trip.” With a shaker in hand, he jumped around and eventually made his way atop Leaman’s shoulders for the end of the song. And as the bassist, somewhat startled, explained, the two groups have been touring for a while. Another example of how, even after so long, the expected can produce the expected. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com


Dr. Dog and Delta Spirit Play Central Park Tonight

September 20th, 2012

Dr. Dog, a pop-rock quintet based in Philadelphia, openly embrace lo-fi production and the upbeat, late-’60s sounds of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Two frontmen, bassist Toby Leaman and lead guitarist Scott McMicken, lead them—although the whole band harmonizes throughout their shows. The group formed in 1999 and has toured extensively over the years, earning wider acclaim opening for the Raconteurs, the Black Keys and My Morning Jacket. And although the lineup has changed over the years, Dr. Dog (above, playing “These Days” for WFUV) have still put out seven top-notch albums since 2001. Their most recent effort, the bluesy (and perhaps a little bit psychedelic) Be the Void came out this past February.

That Delta Spirit have also toured with My Morning Jacket is just one of the things they have in common with Dr. Dog. The main one, of course, is that while each band clearly focuses on doing the best recorded work they can, their live performances are equally as important. And so while Delta Spirit’s sound has boldly moved in a new direction with their self-titled album, leaving behind gritty roots rock in favor of the bigger, ethereal-sounding music that could fill arenas, they still cut loose onstage every night. Delta Spirit recently did a stripped-down take of “California,” below, and talked about  what they would do if they weren’t making music for The Bowery Presents Live. It’s the last Thursday of summer—and it’s gonna be a beautiful night—spend it outside at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park with Dr. Dog and Delta Spirit.

The Bowery Presents Live Features Delta Spirit

June 12th, 2012

Some bands develop a certain sound early on and rarely stray from it. But that’s not the case with Delta Spirit. The now-based-in-Brooklyn quintet has boldly moved in a new direction, leaving behind gritty roots rock in favor of the bigger, ethereal sounding music that fills arenas. While they once used lo-fi instruments like a trash-can lid to make Americana-tinged music, this year’s self-titled disc, filled with soaring guitars, is more polished, the result of using a broader palette that includes drum machines and samples. As today’s featured band on The Bowery Presents Live, they perform a stripped-down version of the album’s first single, “California.” Also, don’t miss the guys in the group talking about what they would do if they weren’t making music. And make sure you subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live for more videos like this and live-streamed shows, cool performances and intimate interviews.

(Delta Spirit—with Dr. Dog—plays Rumsey Playfield on 9/20.)


An Ass-Kicking Musical Revue

March 7th, 2011

Middle Brother/Dawes/Deer Tick – The Bowery Ballroom – March 6, 2011


Is March still part of the winter or is it spring? Should we be happy that it’s getting warmer or depressed because it was raining all day? Is Sunday night the end of the weekend or the beginning of the next week? Is Middle Brother a side project, a supergroup or just another band? These were some of the questions hanging in the air at The Bowery Ballroom on a rainy Sunday night in March. The answer to all of them is, of course, “somewhere in between,” which gives the band’s moniker some extra meaning.

Middle Brother, being bits of Dawes, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit, was only part of the story, though. Usually projects like these are meant to get the musicians away from their normal bands for some extracurricular activity. But the gig on Sunday was more of an extra kind of thing with the entirety of Dawes and Deer Tick playing their own full-strength sets as well. These weren’t opening slots, but part of an overall-show arc, with both bands playing in as-good-as-I’ve-seen-’em form. Despite having their bags stolen the night before, Dawes was as alive as ever with their superb polished-for-radio sound. Frontman Taylor Goldsmith extolled the beauty of support and collaboration with fellow musicians, setting the tone for the evening. He then brought out Johnny Corndawg for a mini-set of country-flavored fun. The closing number, “When My Time Comes,” had Corndawg and the Middle Brother cohorts singing along in unified awesomeness.

With their double blasts of guitar and a bottle of Maker’s Mark to pass around onstage, Deer Tick was a raging contrast of raw bar-band rock and roll. Their set included more guest turns and a massive jam with three guitars and eight total musicians as well as a fantastic five-part harmony on “Dirty Dishes.” By the time the quote-unquote headliner took the stage, the crowd had already gotten their money’s worth, but there was plenty more to come. In rock and roll mathematics, the sum of Goldsmith, Deer Tick’s John McCauley and Delta Sprit’s Matt Vasquez is roughly the average of proto-supergroups Crosby, Stills and Nash and Blind Faith: lush harmonies, touching, self-aware songwriting and plenty of build-to-climax raging rock. Rotating in guests from the rest of the night, they hit most of their self-titled debut in fine fashion. There was plenty of joking and back-slapping and free-for-all fun onstage and hooting, hollering and heckling in the crowd. As the clock approached midnight, the band handed out masks with ugly pictures of themselves for those in the audience to hold up—for no reason at all. Was it the weekend or the start of the week? Somewhere in between. —A. Stein


In Case of Emergency: Add Brown Liquor

August 16th, 2010

Deer Tick – Webster Hall – August 13, 2010

Friday the Thirteenth proved to be a lucky night to be at Webster Hall. The crowd enthusiastically greeted Delta Spirit frontman Matt Vasquez (“I’m not anything without my band”) as he opened with a short set of his own songs plus covers of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Neil Young. Then, playing their last U.S. show before heading overseas next month, Deer Tick was fittingly welcomed to the stage with an air horn. The Providence, R.I., quintet went right into “Choir of Angels,” the opening track from their terrific new album, The Black Dirt Sessions.

The disc is notable for a change in Deer Tick personnel, with guitarist Ian O’Neil, formerly of Titus Andronicus, and keyboardist Rob Crowell joining the band. O’Neil is a big addition with his songwriting (“Hope Is Big”), singing and frenetic guitar playing, clearly evident onstage during “Baltimore Blues No. 1,” which has been reworked with Christopher Ryan’s ’50s-coffehouse-bassline opening. Crowell’s influence was most obvious on an ambling version of “Ashamed,” as he effortlessly shifted from keys to sax mid-song (while ringleader John McCauley slid from crooner mode to keys player) as the crowd throatily sang the chorus.

Of course McCauley, his voice endearingly ragged on “Christ Jesus,” was his usual engaging presence, cracking jokes, singing to girls and sharing his bottle of Jack with the audience—plus he even played a little air horn when just he and drummer Dennis Ryan returned to the stage following the encore break. The other guys eventually joined them on an upbeat “Easy.” And then as people sprayed band-supplied Silly String into the air, it seemed like the show would close with the rambling honky-tonk of “Mange,” but the group responded to the loud crowd and returned with one more, a heartfelt a cappella “Dirty Dishes” before closing out their tour. Look out, Europe: Deer Tick is coming. —R. Zizmor


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Deer Tick on 8/13

August 10th, 2010


Friday the 13th is just three days away, but there’s no reason for it to be unlucky because The House List is giving away two tickets to see Deer Tick (with Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez opening) play Webster Hall that night. In concert, the band is like a live wire, and they’ve recently released a great new album, The Black Dirt Sessions. The show is sure to be a blast. Want to go? Then try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, listing your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Deer Tick, 8/13) and a brief message explaining why your favorite Deer Tick song is just that. Eddie Bruiser, who can’t pick just one, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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