Monday, November 26, 2012

Recap: JEFF the Brotherhood and Delta Spirit - House Of Blues Chicago Nov. 19

Two heavily heralded live acts came through Chicago on Monday, and FPT was lucky enough to cover JEFF the Brotherhood and Delta Spirit at the House of Blues in Chicago.

There are many adjectives to describe JEFF the Brotherhood's sound, and all of them are probably equally overused. But the band delivers their sound: (pick one) "dark/moody/stoner/garage"-rock with such gusto that it makes the duo hard to ignore.

JEFF the Brotherhood
Based off their live show, it was clear why Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) chose to wet his production chops by co-producing JEFF the Brotherhood's latest effort Mystic Nights. JEFF the Brotherhood produce such a powerful sound for just two members, much like the glory days of Black Keys' sets. Shredding through songs like "Staring at the Wall" "Sixpack" and "Heavy Days" with such force it completely made up for the lead singer's donning of a shirt with his own album cover on it. The set was accurately accompanied by a fog machine that was heavily used; the thick mass of fog clouding the band for 75% of their set.

Through that fog, however, was a band who has mastered their craft. Both members playing on some of the most badass equipment I've seen - a completely clear guitar head and drum kit - and playing them well; Jake Orrall closed the set with his guitar neck between his legs, appearing to have lost his mind at some point while playing. This is a good thing.

After about a half hour wait, Delta Spirit took the stage.

I had long heard from colleagues and friends that Delta Spirit is not to be messed with when it comes to their live shows. To be honest, I never really gave them a decent shot. Their latest, self-titled effort was a little lackluster upon first listen, and I admittedly wrote them off. Since the album was released, however, more and more people were "tricking" me in to listening to them, highlighting their older releases. And sure, yes, fine, whatever, I liked them.

So here I am, at a Delta Spirit concert, waiting to "see the light" as someone emphatically put it.

The group came out to a mass of cheers and screams, and opened their set with "Money Saves" and "Idaho" both off their latest album. It was quickly discovered by me, in the photo pit, that the band would be a headache to cover accurately with a camera.

Delta Spirit
Watching Delta Spirit on stage is like trying to watch the Tasmanian Devil tear apart a room and pinpoint where he is at one point in time. Matt Vasquez is a mad man on stage, and seems to rupture a vocal chord every show. His voice is absolutely reckless in a live setting, and his body seems unable to stop moving, as he is either playing guitar or eliciting shout-along sessions from the crowd as he lifts the mic stand and hovers it over the front row of patrons.

Couple "'Squez"'s insanity on stage with a heavy sound that is backed by two drummers at times, a keyboardist at other times, a guitarist that never ceases to be ripping through some riff that went unnoticed in the album, and a bassist who's hair is a spectacle in itself.

Delta Spirit
And sure, yes, fine, the band puts on an amazing show.

It was the House of Blues that led a little to be desired for such a raucous show. The walls seemed too closed in on themselves, as echoes destroyed my ears and left them ringing for a couple of days. But that doesn't mean I didn't thoroughly enjoy myself. Delta Spirit blew me away with live versions of some excellent songs: "Tear It Up" "Empty House" "White Table" and "Bushwick Blues" all blew me away, and to top it off, "Trashcan" closed out the set and featured Vasquez shifting to the keys and drummer/keyboardist Kelly Winrich brought out a beat-to-shit metal trashcan lid to bang on.

By the time Delta Spirit finished up their encore with "California" I had already come to the conclusion that these two bands are on my must-see list from here on out.

To see more photos from FPT's coverage of JEFF the Brotherhood and Delta Spirit, head to the Flickr collection here
Delta Spirit

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