Music Monday :: a love letter to Delta Rae’s live shows

7 Apr

Or, well holy hot damn.

I started seeing ads for Delta Rae playing a show at a casino nearish to me during the Olympics.  I’ve never before been to a concert at the casino or the casino in general, so I was a bit hesitant to go, but come on, Delta Rae.  I am in the habit of feeling somehow surprised whenever relatively unheard-of bands I like play near me, and that was the case here, so I had to go.

I wound up going with my mother, who had heard a few of their songs on my mix albums but not while consciously thinking about them, so mostly she just knew from my telling that “Bottom of the River” (which she did not actually know) appeared on mix albums all over the internet.  She agreed to go with, though, and I’m pretty sure she was persuaded.

The opening act was called Joshua James; they were sort of Mumford & Sons-y, not exactly the sort of thing I personally seek out, but they were pretty good and I enjoyed the snark in their audience banter.  I did not enjoy the people sitting around me, but this is not a rant about audience etiquette, so that’s all I’ll say about that.

And then Delta Rae.  They opened, if I recall, with a snippet of “Chasing Twisters” off the same-titled EP from last year going into “Run” from that same EP.  One of the first things I noticed about Brittany Hölljes and Elizabeth Hopkins was that the energetic, bouncy-but-not-too-chipper way they moved around the stage somewhat reminded me of Spring Awakening, which is the highest of compliments from me, of course.

Anyway.  They did a few other songs, some of which were new (from their forthcoming album!  Yay!!) and that was fun.  And then, “Bottom of the River.”  Which predictably got the most reaction from the crowd as it started, but — see this is the thing about that song.  I am legitimately sad that it is sort of a meme so I can’t ever use it on a mix album (although I’m pretty sure that whoever first thought to put it on a Catelyn mix made the best choice in the world) because I really do love it.  Also, seeing/hearing it live is one of those experiences that took me out of my body but also I felt like I was perfectly in it and at peace with the world and also I genuinely felt like there were great mysteries and perfection in the universe.

That is a very over the top explanation of it, but there you go.

Save percussion, it’s done without accompaniment, and it is chilling.  Everybody is so intense and invested and it is just dark as everloving hell and for the first time that night, we were treated to Brittany’s crazy eyes.  Because this was at a casino, there were a couple of cameras projecting close-ups of faces on screens flanking the stage, and sometimes I was trying to just watch the whole big picture, but when it’s one of Brittany’s dark songs it’s very hard not to watch her face, because she commits.  She is so very captivating.

As the applause played for that song, my mother leaned to me and whispered, “Oh, I get it.”  And that was that.

They did all of the songs off the EP and many of the songs off of Carry the Fire (though not, sadly, “Fire” itself, which I was quite hoping for, but that’s how it is with concerts, I almost always miss at least one song I want to hear) and many new songs.  They did covers of “Because the Night” by Bruce Springsteen (which I imagine I would not like in its original much since I don’t care about Springsteen but which I enjoyed very much when they did it) and Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”  I was very delighted and wide-eyed and grinning the whole time.

They closed the set with “I Will Never Die,” also off the EP.  And that?  I’m less familiar with it since it’s newer and whatnot, but it was just as transcendent of an experience.  More of Brittany’s crazy eyes and whatnot (“she’s a great actress,” my mother enthused) and me getting chills every which way.  Another possibly paraphrased quote from my mother: “what do they do to encore after that?”

Well, a new song, then “Dance in the Graveyards.”  Which made me really, really happy.

(Oh, and Ian-Eric-Elizabeth, I love all the songs you sing, too.  The beginning of “Is There Anyone Out There” sent chills up my spine, too.  For example.)

In short, yay.  Great concerts are a joy like few other things.

–your fangirl heroine.



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