Wednesday night’s show at the 9:30 Club was the start of a high-profile tour for Middle Brother. It’s a side-project for its members, all of whom have highly respected bands on the cusp of greatness of their own to tend to. For less-talented musicians, gambling time away from their primary projects might kill the hard-won momentum they’d built up. For the members of Middle Brother—Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, Deer Tick’s John McCaulay and Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez, all of them darlings of the indie music culture—the side project turned out to be a shot of adrenaline for a bunch of guys already riding pretty high on their own. Wednesday’s show took some seriously high-energy bands, tumbled their members together in a free-for-all of booze, musicianship and friendship, and spit out a rocket fuel concoction that propelled its members even higher. It ranked among the best I’ve seen on the 9:30 Club stage. So, first things first: Thank you, guys. That was a hell of a night.
As far as I can tell, there’s a guy at every concert, ever, who takes it upon himself to yell “Freebird.” That Guy is always there, trying for a chuckle, being ignored, hoping, just hoping, that the band will hear his plea. That Guy, like everyone else who saw Delta Spirit at the 9:30 Club on Saturday night, had the time of his life this weekend. Because Delta Spirit’s just that kind of band: Americana rock shot straight through the decades that reminds your soul what fun is supposed to feel like. You want “Freebird?” Yeah, sure, they’ll give you “Freebird.” Because it’s fun, and that’s what their show is all about.
I got handed a copy of Delta Spirit’s last album, “Ode to Sunshine,” in 2008 (put ’em on my Top 5 that year, too). The music-obsessed friend who passed it along is probably personally responsible for a few dozen of the fans at Saturday’s show: each of us spread the word (over)enthusiastically to another few people, and I like to imagine the fandom spread across the city from person to person, like the flu in winter, only better. I tell you this by way of explaining that yes, I am a huge fan, and no, this is not an unbiased review of Saturday’s show. Based on the limited sample of fans-who-also-tweet, I am not alone in having put this one high on the list of best shows ever. (Karon Flage, whose photos you see illustrating this post, took my extra ticket on a whim never having heard of the band, and she left a convert, too.)