10th February 2013
Delphic recently said that they get very angry about the state of popular music and they want to bloody change it. Liam Core reviews their recent Leeds performance for Louder Than War.
Delphic are one of the few bands I’ve seen in three different incarnations. Going all the way back to 2003 when they were known as Lisa Brown, then the bloody fantastic Snowfight in the City Centre
before eventually settling into electronic band Delphic, who released second album “Collections” in January.
It’s freezing in Leeds. And pissing down. With a stage time of 2100, and no support act, the venue is almost full as we arrive, and thankfully no queue at all to get in. The venue is full but not sold out and there’s no massive queue for the bar. A place is secured down the front and already this gig is a lot more comfortable than the previous time I saw Delphic at Gorilla in Manchester in 2012.
It’s impossible to escape the influences of Delphic when reviewing their work. Comparisons to New Order are so obvious it sometimes feels awkward bringing them up. Personally, I think Delphic have been one of the many bands, both from Manchester and further afield (LCD Soundsystem spring to mind) who picked up the ball that New Order spectacularly dropped not just during their acrimonious ‘separation’ but also the last few extremely mediocre albums.
Opening with the first single from the new album Baiya, it is clear that there has not been a radical departure from the sounds which made Acolyte so popular amongst not just the masses, but the BBC who used many of the songs to soundtrack everything from Football Focus to Waterloo Road. Baiya receives a positive reaction, as you might expect being the opening single from the new album. The gig however really starts when Halcyon starts. A track which wouldn’t be out of place on New Order’s seminal 1985 album Low-Life, this is a classic example of the fusion between electronic music and guitar music. Still as fresh and vibrant as when I first heard it back in 2009, Delphic succeed in easily getting the crowd into the gig, especially the young teenage girls down the front who jump around with the sheer joy and reckless abandon that many people experience when seeing their favourite band for this first time. The enjoyment levels of said girls and quality of the gig remains high for the next seventy minutes.
Blasting through 13 song set containing 6 songs from Collections, and a further 7 from debut album Acolyte, Delphic touch upon who’s who of music influences . As well as the aforementioned New Order, bars of Halcyon by Orbital (who Delphic supported in 2009) are liberally dropped in the mix. Clear nods to Kraftwerk (as seems to the fashion this month, although having seen Delphic plenty of times before I can confirm it’s not a one off), The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and others are evident. Unlike some of their contemporaries, Delphic have never been about simply recycling what has gone before, but about taking the work of their predecessors and using it to build their own unique sound. This Momentary may have a clear Peter Hook influenced bassline, but the sound is not a New Order rip off, but a great sound which is uniquely Delphic. It is a sound which is mixed to near perfection in the sometimes tricky cockpit, and credit must be given to the sound engineer who allowed the band the best opportunity to shine, an opportunity they grasped with both hands.
It is clear that the new material needs time to settle in. No new song had the urgency of Clarion Call, nor the hypnotism of set closer Acolyte, the intensity of This Momentary in a live context. But very seldom is it that new material is well received live as old standards. Positively though, the new material is well received, there is no mass exodus to the bar, and the girls dancing at the front don’t stop, as much as you can judge on that basis.
When Delphic disappeared in the latter half of 2010, I thought that the world was at their feet. I thought they would become what Foals are now, selling out good sized venues with consummate ease. It hasn’t quite happened for them as I thought it would, however they retain a strong live following and have demonstrated unlike so many others they can write a new collection of songs that can sit alongside the ‘classics’ in the live environment. As a fan, I can’t ask for anymore.
Don’t let the Dreamers Take You Away
Sun Also Rises
All words by Liam Core. More work by Liam on Louder Than War can be found here.
All pictures by Alex Staszko. More work by Alex on Louder Than war can be found here.