Live Review: Delphic at DC9, Washington DC – 8th October 2010

By on Monday, 11th October 2010 at 2:00 pm

Washington is not New York City or Los Angeles, so you will often find me whinging when a favourite band of mine decides to completely skip over my city for those other two. However, I was not complaining on Friday night when Delphic made a stopover here to play their only headlining gig during their entire time on our side of the pond this autumn. Much credit and gratitude must be given to DC9’s Bill Spieler, who has in the past managed to book the Phenomenal Handclap Band and VV Brown when they were pretty much underground in America.

The three previous times I’d seen Delphic were on much larger stages – Pavilion at Roskilde, the Philly Trocadero and the Boston House of Blues – so I wondered how this was going to work on such a tiny little stage like DC9’s. The set up ended up not being as cramped as I expected, but the band have a lot of gear – plenty of electronics plus guitars and drums. Another big difference was that I’d told every single person in town I knew to come to this show to witness something amazing. I tried to impress on them that Delphic easily sells out much larger venues in Britain and in terms of intimacy, this show was going to be pretty special.

I remembered what a girl in Philadelphia said about ‘Clarion Call’ being too slow; to be honest, it’s the only time during a Delphic set you’re going to get a breath. The rest of the time your heartbeat is racing like it’s running the marathon, fueled by the mad beats. This band is so good at writing fun choruses, and ‘Doubt’ (with Rick Boardman’s vowels being thrown around the song via electronic drum pad) and ‘Halcyon’ in particular are so much to sing along to while you’re dancing.

When I had sent a good friend over to the band’s MySpace to listen to the entirety of ‘Acolyte’, she honed in on ‘Red Lights’, a song that I taught myself on bass yet and of course like, but it wasn’t until I saw it live that I really understood the attraction. The programmed echoes and effects that Boardman, James Cook and Matt Cocksedge use on the extended outro of this track and many of the others are so far out of this world, I sometimes wonder how they came up with it all.

‘Halcyon’ and Cocksedge busting out his guitar solo always goes down a treat, proving to everyone that there is more to this band than just synths. Their guitars can talk too. ‘Counterpoint’ with its simple yet haunting bass line is so beautiful live. And then to close out their set, they played ‘Acolyte’. The last time I’d heard this was at Roskilde. Hearing it makes you happy to be alive – the vocals, the synths, the beats, the guitars are all spot on and gorgeously done.

Although the crowd demanded it, they didn’t return for an encore, and while I would have loved to hear ‘Submission’, ‘Ephemera’ or ‘Remain’, I think what they did play left a lasting impression on the good people of Washington. And I hope we made a good enough impression on them to make them want to return to us soon.

Delphic Set List:
Clarion Call
Red Lights
This Momentary

Delphic Photos:

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2 Responses

7:41 pm
11th October 2010

love the review. i felt your pain about being passed up at first on delphic’s tour dates, but was SO SO happy to seem them at dc9. they were awesome. did they ever come out and dance with the crowd??

7:48 pm
11th October 2010

thanks very much! I’m glad you enjoyed it, everyone I brought along was absolutely blown away and I got the feeling that the crowd felt the same. not sure actually…right after their show my friends and I headed upstairs to get some fresh air.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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