by Jeff Niesel
It’s a common technique that when participating in a race that requires a certain amount of physical strength and stamina, it’s best to save your strength for the final stretch. That seemed to be the approach that Brooklyn-via-San Diego rockers Delta Spirit took last night at House of Blues’ Cambridge Room. The 90-minute show started slow but gained momentum and finished strong. While the guys were playing large festivals all summer, they seemed to really relish the smaller Cambridge Room, even though their extensive gear (they made use of two drum sets and brought in their own LED light display) barely fit on the stage.
While the vocals were a bit buried in the sound mix for the first three songs, the sound cleared up a bit for “Tear It Up,” a tune from the band’s new self-titled album that has restless, punk rock energy to it. Singer-guitarist Matthew Vasquez encouraged the audience to clap and sing-a-long to the track, which sounded a bit like early My Morning Jacket, back when that band was more of a roots rock act. “White Table,” another track from Delta Spirit, was also an engaging number that had anthem written all over it and evoked ‘80s era Springsteen. The band devoted most of the set to songs from the new album but it delved into its catalogue for “Trashcan,” for which it literally used a trash can lid as a piece of percussion. At the set’s end, Vasquez said he’d prefer not to leave the stage (the guys would have had to walk through the throng to go the dressing room) just to turn around and come back to play an encore. But he acknowledged the audience’s applause and then launched into a two-song encore that commenced with the ballad “California,” perhaps the most melodic song of the 15-song set. One exuberant fan even took to crowd-surfing, demonstrating the extent to which the band had won over the crowd.
Nashville’s Jeff the Brotherhood opened with a set of heavy psychedelic rock that left an impression if only because the duo was able to create such a racket. Using a variety of pedals and effects, long-haired guitarist Jake Orrall was a real showman who clearly reveled in jamming.