Delta Rae–Live at Eddie’s Attic

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Oh, the pressure.  Having raved about Delta Rae long enough, my wife finally got the opportunity to see them in concert, the band having recently launched their summer “New Moon Rising” tour.

Delta Rae - Eddie's Attic

The show was originally booked for a new venue called City Winery, but their Certificate of Occupancy wouldn’t be ready in time.  So, the show as moved to the venerable but more compact Eddie’s Attic.  This was, I hoped, a good thing.  I first caught them at Asheville’s Bele Chere festival, may it sadly rest in peace.  Delta Rae had the talent, energy, and the songs to stand out far above the other acts through the weekend.  Three months later, I saw them in a small bar in Atlanta which looked like a gap-filler for a journey from NC to LA, and once again they were excellent, though abbreviated and short on audience interaction.  More recently, I saw them on a Yahoo Live internet broadcast from a venue in Philadelphia – a bigger stage, the world watching to a degree, and while they were a polished unit, the event may have limited their ability to interact and sequencing of songs didn’t have the same flow.   If that had been my first experience, I probably wouldn’t have been as keen about the band.

In any case, put them in a small venue where people are “cozy” with one another, and it breeds intimacy.  So I hoped. 

There are a couple of things I specifically like about Eddie’s Attic.  The first is that it’s a “listening room.”  If you want to chat with your buddies, step outside.  If you insist on talking during a song, a waiter will likely remind you of the policy.  The second thing is that when you arrive, you check in.  They keep track of who got their first and let you enter in that order without the tedium of having to stand in a queue line.  Translated:  front row seats, for my wife, a friend, and his kids, close enough to the stage that my feet are cramped in the meager distance distance to the stage.  The proximity of the mic stands below give a good sense of it.

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The lights dim, the band takes the stage, and from the opener (“Hitch a Ride”) on, they slay the audience.  What does a front row seat do for you in a slaying?  It makes it up close and personal.  This is more obvious when the female singers stand on a box just off the front edge of the stage… too close to take pictures even.  Wow.



Another 2’ makes a difference, with this being my friend’s still-vertical (and better lit) perspective:

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The band has six members, and on a stage as small as Eddie’s, the drummer and bassist were all but stuffed into a corner.  The front stage was occupied by three Holljes siblings Ian (vocals and guitar), Eric (keyboard, guitars, vocals), Brittany (vocals) and Liz Hopkins (vocals).

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Delta Rae can and has covered a wide variety of styles – the sentimental love songs, the heartfelt society commentary, the mystic/Gothic, blues, country, traditional spirituals, etc.

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And each singer has their stylistic strengths.  The Holljes brothers do a superb job in writing their songs to place each at their best advantage.  And while each sings well individually, there is no need for grandstanding guitar solos or other theatrics when they sing as one.  The songs are belted out, wonderfully.  There’s no Dylan or Springsteen clinched teeth delivery here or a hint of a need of studio masking.  Every song requires a little movement, but if it demands a lot, they all move.  About anyone may take a turn at the bass drum, for example.  It may be hard to understand without seeing them in person, but they invest themselves in each song.  Delta Rae is very good on their CDs. They’re awesome in concert.  

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Their first big “hit” was the main set’s closer, “Bottom of the River,” a some creepy song.  Dim the lights, add a spotlight and a fan for the hair, backlight the drum, led Brittney take over, and… bewitching.  Every time.

Delta Rae Eddie's Attic, Bottom of the River, Brittney Holljes

The night included a great mixture of songs off their first two albums, but still leaving some worthy songs out such as “Fire,” “Cold Day in Heaven,” and the uber creepy “I Will Never Die.”  In any case, this left room for several new songs, each of which speaks very well of a new CD whenever it may come.  I’ve seen a lot of concerts, and two of theirs are easily in my top 10.  So, yeah.  You can say I’m a fan.  Oh, and my wife is a fan now, too.



Set list:

Hitch a Ride
Chasing Twisters
Morning Comes
Hurts Like This
Outlaws
Meaning of it All
Never Back (likely not the full title)
Pay No Rent
Scared
If I Loved You
All Good People
Dead End Road
Moved Down South
Bottom of the River

Encore:

Dance in the Graveyard / I Wanna Dance With Somebody


 
 

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