Delphic made a return to their home town of Manchester to play an intimate gig at Manchester’s newest gig venue, the crazy named Gorilla. The last time I caught this band was just over the road from Gorilla at the much larger Ritz back in May 2010 at the end of their tour in support of the truly great debut album Acolyte. The guys have been away for 18 months working on their much anticipated second album and have embarked on a mini tour of small rooms road-testing the new material, which finds us in a dark railway arch on a Saturday night just a stones throw away from where the famous Hacienda once stood.
It’s quite appropriate that we are in the shadow of where dance music exploded back in the 80’s as Delphic hail from the dance side of the music spectrum. It often sends a shudder down the spine when you hear the term indie/dance, when bands go from rock to dance it usually ends with a ropey remix or just adding a 4/4 beat. The successful cross-over usually comes from the other side of the fence from dance to rock like Underworld and The Chemical Brothers – Delphic fit into this model.
The dance music theme kicked off the night with Manchester DJ and producer D/R/U/G/S warming up the night nicely with his own style of progressive house getting the crowd moving. After the usual stage rearranging it was time for the main event, the Delphic guys arriving on stage dressed as sharp as ever. Set opener was Good Life the track which was chosen as one of the 5 official Olympic Games songs back in the summer. This track shows how the band have progressed from the first album whilst still having a direct link back to Acolyte.
The set list mixed new material alongside tracks from Acolyte, the crowd understandably reacting more to songs they are familiar with and second song in Halcyon had everybody on side. Red Lights and This Momentary had the floor getting their groove on, Delphic have a unique way to mix the dance floor with guitars, songs that can be played in a club or an indie kids bedroom.
As is the style of Delphic each song progresses into the next just like a club DJ mixing one tune into the next, keeping the dance floor moving. The crowd packed inside the small venue dancing rather the bouncing, if as a band you can get people moving their feet you are doing something right! It’s worth mentioning that this being my first visit to Gorilla what a great little venue it is, fully of character and a little bit quirky.
The new material certainly stands up well against the older tracks, it’s noticeable that the band haven’t stood still for 18 months and have moved their sound on, taking a more break-beat funky line than the straight 4/4 beat of old.
The opening strains to Doubt caused the biggest cheer of the night, the crowd suddenly going from club to gig mode with the words being sung back at the band. The guitar solo still gets me every time summing up all that’s great about guitar and dance fusing together.
Closing the set was a new track, I believe is called Atlas, which was a great example of how Delphic’s sound has progressed, at times it dipped into Jack White style blues before going back to the dance floor, this song being my personal favorite of the new material.
There was to be an encore of course and it was nice to see the boys hadn’t messed with the tried and tested formula of Counterpoint and Acolyte to close the night. Looking around you could have quite easily been down the road at the Warehouse Project with the crowd dancing away to the trance infused sounds of Acolyte. The final song was made even better by the appearance of a dancing gorilla behind the stage!?!
I’m sure it won’t be long before we see Delphic back again this time in a much bigger venue with a successful second album in tow.
Delphic are on the bill for XFM’s Winter Wonderland at the Apollo on 4th December 2012.
Check out a recent interview with Delphic’s Richard Boardman over on A Music Blog, Yea? http://amusicblogyea.com/2012/10/25/gimme-your-answers-an-interview-w-delphic/