Deer Tick and Delta Spirit Rock First Avenue


Thursday night was one of those shows where I knew nothing about the bands prior to stepping foot inside First Avenue. I love those kinds of nights. You have no expectations other than to witness some magic on stage. Some nights it works out, some nights it doesn’t. Thankfully, last night absolutely worked out in my favor.

The two-band line-up started with Delta Spirit. The California-based band kicked their set off with a dreamy intro track that had me low-key regretting my choice. Although the opening track was absolutely gorgeous, it was just a bit too relaxed for my current exhaustion status. I was worried that the whole set was going to be slow and dreamy so I was thankful as the band really kicked into high gear for the second track. This band’s sound is distinct and amazing. A little rock, a little jam band, and a million other little bits of genres are combined in a genius way to create Delta Spirit’s sound. I was completely captivated by all of the members of this band and had a hard time deciding what to watch. Vocalist Matthew Vasquez was definitely a member that caught my eye the majority of the time. The way he sang was addicting because it was more than just him singing the lyrics, you could see him feeling each word with an extreme sense of emotion. It wasn’t until about halfway through their set that I realized the familiarity I was feeling when watching Matthew perform was because I had seen him before. I’m not going to be too hard on myself for not catching on to this sooner as it was April of 2016 when I caught him last but I loved how I was able to recognize his signature style and voice and put it together.

Being only a two-band co-headliner type show, Delta Spirit had plenty of time to play with and could have spent a lot of time just bantering back and forth with the crowd but, instead, they filled every second of their set with beautiful music. Don’t get me wrong, the personality of this band still reigned supreme throughout the set but I loved that they didn’t get lost in the camaraderie felt in the audience and stuck to the music. Although I had gone into this show blind, it was clear that the majority of the audience had not. Even though Matthew made a comment thanking those who were just there waiting for the other band to take the stage, I noticed that nearly everyone was either singing or dancing along to the infectious sound of Delta Spirit. Maybe they had me fooled but it seemed like I was surrounded by super fans of Delta Spirit who were just beyond thankful to finally get a chance to see this powerful band live again.

I was already thoroughly impressed by Delta Spirit and knew I had made the right call as far as what concert to check out on Thursday night but it was Deer Tick who absolutely made the night what it was. Much like Delta Spirit, Deer Tick has a sound that draws on so many different genres that it’s impossible to put them in a box or really even put their sound into just a few words. There were a few songs that had an almost Americana vibe while others had a straight-up rock n’ roll feel. Regardless of the style of song the band was playing, there was an endless amount of energy both on stage and in the audience. I knew I was a bit out of my element as I found myself lost in a sea of people singing along to Delta Spirit and that feeling was magnified during Deer Tick’s set. It’s clear that this band has a super devoted following and, after experiencing them live, I understand it. There’s something so personable about this band. They come off as your friends that you only get to see every once in a while yet always seem to pick up right where you left off.

With seven full-length albums and a few EPs, Deer Tick is not a new band at all and you got that feeling while watching them power through their lengthy set on Thursday night. They had a sense of professionalism about them while clearly having fun on stage joking with each other and the audience. Their set lasted around twenty songs but it honestly didn’t feel like that. From the energy the band brought on stage to bringing up local legend Curtiss A for a few songs and then the return of Delta Spirit for a few tracks– Deer Tick knew how to entertain a crowd that was there to see them and how to captivate those who knew nothing about the band and had just stumbled into the show.

Just as Delta Spirit had started the show on an absolutely beautiful note, Deer Tick closed out the night with a stunning track and a beautiful show of love throughout the venue. I’m not going to ruin it because I hear this is what they do every night and I truly just want you to go check out the band but I will say that it was one of those goosebump-inducing moments that will be hard to shake from my mind anytime soon.