Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Delphic at Audio, Brighton 19.01.10 (Live Review)

Here's my first live review for Brighton Calling in 2010.

The annual BBC list for who's going to be successful in the next twelve months has the ability to make heroes or villains out of its nominees. Last year's list managed to make both out of some of its acts with the critics who put the artists on the pedestal happily trying to shoot them down by the end of the year. This year both Ellie Goulding and Marina And The Diamonds have been offered the chance to follow La Roux and Little Boots by betraying their loyal blog following and swinging straight for the overly manicured fast buck. Delphic don't have this option which leaves them with taking the White Lies route (releasing a good album but never being heard of again) or crafting their own.

Even the most avid fan will have only heard three of Delphic's early tracks before plumping to buy a ticket in the post 'Sound of 2010' rush. The album was released a mere eight days ago which doesn't allow much time to get to know and love its content and there's a distinct sense of 'What's all the fuss about then?' in the smoke laden air. It doesn't look like they're going to break down this wall of folded arms and judging stares. An impressive lighting rig reminiscent of a Klaxons video or Simian Mobile Disco's live set flashing frantically behind the band's eerily lit-from-below faces isn't permeating anything and even the latest single appears not to make a dent. The cracks, however, are slowly becoming visible. Shoulders loosen and feet begin to tap as the final moments of 'Doubt' build into a tweaked and stuttered 4/4 remix leading seamlessly into the next song.

Anyone dedicated enough to listen to the album on repeat for the last week will notice how, aside from the jam-style endings, the band have also spiced up the live element. Smooth electro pop moments on 'Acolyte' are torn and shredded with far more prevalent guitar slashes, dreamy synth breezes are replaced with swirling blasts and yet the vocals remain pristine. The lyrics keep a lid on the songs whilst the drums and bass line bubble ferociously underneath. When these elements are uncovered they boil up and spill onto the dance floor, making enough mess to convince the audience that they certainly warrant the ticket price.

Mid set, live highlight 'Red Lights' appears with Delphic bathed in (you guessed it) red light. It's enough to melt the crowd's initially icy reception and movement slowly creeps through the assembled Doubt(ers) like a gradually building wind through tall grass. The night is finally turning into the indie disco it was supposed to be. It's the intelligence with which Delphic present their dance tinged live music that distinguishes them from the recently (and thankfully) deceased New/Nu Rave genre. Despite the Skins advert flashing away behind their heads, they far more deserve comparisons to LCD Soundsystem and The Rapture's Echoes than any of the later throw away indie/electro/dance/pop types.

Delphic's final tracks fully lure their audience in with guys at the front singing along, eyes closed and head shaking, it's somewhat of a shame that it's taken them so long to get wrapped up in the gig though. Delphic are the kind of band that should be able to outlast the artificial euphoria surrounding the BBC nominations and their debut. If this performance says anything about their future it's that they'll be better on a much bigger stage and they've got a pretty good chance of getting there.

Thanks to Justin De Souza for the photo

Delphic - Red Lights on Spotify

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