Delta Spirit / The Willowz @ Union Hall

Most of you may know that I am originally from Oklahoma and have been in New York for less than a year, so it's no surprise that I have found myself finally making it to some venues I have failed to visit.  This was the case this past Friday when I finally made it to Union Hall in Brooklyn to see one of my favorite bands, Delta Spirit.  I do have to admit that if it wasn't for a friend of mine in Oklahoma, I would have never listened to Delta Spirit; I am very grateful as I have worn out their debut album, Ode to Sunshine,  over this past year but simply cannot stop playing it.  So, it was only by chance that I received the opportunity to catch their last show in New York on their brief Northeast tour.

Without knowing much about the opening acts, I was pleasantly surprised at how well each performed and how much I enjoyed their music.  Joey English, a folk singer/songwriter from Knoxville, TN, along with drummer Joe Bliffin, strolled through songs of memories passed.  They were quite good, showing some flexibility by kicking it up a notch on songs like "Black Cat".  Along with Joey were the Willowz, a band that I was very impressed with.  Their blend of rock and punk made for some very catchy tunes and for a very entertaining set.  During their set, Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit performed alongside the band on "Way It Seems" and "Everyone", which also included Kelly Winrich of Delta Spirit.  They concluded with the song "Repetition", which was one of my favorites and a pretty good bookend to their show.  Overall, I thought their set was great and I was very happy to see them perform.  I would suggest taking a listen to their latest release, Everyone, as the songs are pretty fantastic.

There's not much that can be said that hasn't been said before about Delta Spirit; I was expecting a high energy, high emotion set from the band from Cali and that's what they delivered.  Starting with "Bleeding Bells", the band slowly built up their sound and finished the song strongly as Vasquez's raspy voice soared over the capacity audience.  Their set was full of new tracks from their upcoming release, History From Below, which is due out in May and old standards like "Strange Vine", "Trashcan" and "Children".  I would have to say that their rendition of "People C'Mon" was one of the highlights of their set; the energy on this song was unmatched and they really fed off the crowd's reaction and vocal participation.  New songs like "911" and "Golden State" kept that same vibe while others, although great in songwriting and overall structure, drew long and toned down the  overall energy of the audience.

As I mentioned above, I have followed Delta Spirit for well over a year and was extremely eager to catch this show; I have missed the opportunity to see them perform at the Opolis in Norman, OK and the other New York shows leading to this one.  As this show drew to an end, Matt recognized me and noticed that I had been filming parts of the set and asked for me to put my camera away to have a good time.  Reluctant, I did as he wished and put it away and awaited the next song.  Unfortunately, they played "Streetwalker", perhaps the most played song on my iTunes and one of my favorite songs in general.  Missing the opportunity to capture this moment was somewhat bittersweet but in hindsight, I was able to enjoy the song and belt out every lyric at will.  I sometimes get so caught up behind the camera, that I miss those things that others get to enjoy.  So thanks Matt for telling me to have a good time, I sometimes forget.  Videos from the Willowz and Delta Spirit are below:

One or two more videos from the show might find its way here, so stay tuned for those.

Delta Spirit / The Willowz @ Union Hall Delta Spirit / The Willowz @ Union Hall Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on February 14, 2010 Rating: 5
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