photos by Diana Wong, words by Jared Levy
As the holiday season rapidly approaches, last summer feels more and more like a distant memory. So, how can a collection of bands whose music felt topical a few months ago sustain interest in the late fall and winter? In the service of answering this question and building on their success this year, the Spanish Balearic band Delorean, along with True Panther label mates Lemonade and Chicago indie-rockers Light Pollution, added a stop at the Bowery Ballroom, the perfect NYC venue to gauge their current appeal. And, judging by the near capacity crowd gathered as Delorean eased into their set, either New Yorkers cannot let go of breezy pop or these bands offer an infectious sound irrespective of season.
Speaking to the latter, the Brooklyn band Lemonade opened in a style befitting the night. With drums, bass, and electronics, the trio focused on explosive rhythms and playful samples of four-on-the-floor style dance music. In support, members of Delorean stood on the side, dancing and, in the case of one member of Delorean, wearing a sharpie penned Lemonade fan t-shirt. These bands are kindred spirits of sorts and their mutual support lent a familial feel to the show.
Following Lemonade, Delorean issued a quick sound check as the crowd packed in. Once on the stage, guitarist and sampler artist Guillermo Astrain triggered an ambient loop, presumably easing the audience into Subiza stand-out "Stay Close." This loop, however played far longer than expected, and after an apology for the uncertain glitch, the familiar vocal sample kicked in, sign posting the larger than expected opening song. Immediately the band embraced the energy of the room, with keyboardist Unai Lazcano shifting and jostling his set-up to the rhythm and drummer Igor Escudeo switching in and out of double time.
Where Subiza can feel a bit hollow, tracks such as "Real Love" sounded richer from lead singer and bassist Ekhi Lopetegi's melodic accompaniment. At times Lopetegi's voice got swallowed in the mix, highlighting the group's frustrating tendency to indecipherably blend song parts and sounds together, but Escudeo's precise drumming kept the crowd and band perpetually engaged. Also, between songs, an airhorn blast, reminiscent of being at a European football match, cut through the silence, another reminder of the band's foreign culture and approach.
Regardless of the temperature or one's temperament, Delorean makes effective dance pop. The crowd ecstatically clapped, jumped, and grinded throughout the show, displaying if for nothing else that Delorean creates music that moves bodies. But, beyond the revelry, Delorean taps into a sound that produces moments, rather than having context dictate its appropriateness. And, when judging the merits of a band, longevity beyond a limited seasonal window surely speaks to strong song writing and staying power.
More pictures from Bowery Ballroom below...
Delorean, Lemonade & Light Pollution - 2010 Tour Dates
Mon 11/22/10 First Unitarian Church Philadelphia PA
Tue 11/23/10 Rock and Roll Hotel Washington DC
Wed 11/24/10 Music Hall Of Williamsburg Brooklyn NY
Lemonade also play Electric Pickle in Miami on December 11th.