November 10, 2010
@ Great American Music Hall
Better than: taking drugs at the Cow Palace.
With all due respect to the lovers and survivors of house and trance music, the movement has moved, onward and outward, to bigger sounds and better ideas. Turns out house motifs can add up to more than just sweat and morning-after headaches, as evidenced by Barcelona's Delorean
last night at Great American Music Hall
. In Delorean's world, dancing is still very much a goal and a byproduct of the unwavering beat -- but where traditional house music masturbates the night away, going nowhere but back to where it started, Delorean searches for the sublime.
All this sound comes from four hombres and tables of soundboards, samplers and looping mechanisms. Buttons, dials and switches are essential to the Delorean live experience (I just can't proceed any longer without making a Christopher Lloyd reference), but there's equal amounts of real-time musicianship: Keyboardist Unai Lazcano took charge of cheerleading duties for the night, rocking his keyboard back and forth like a drunken bullfighter. He vacillated seamlessly between keyboard and sampler manipulation, bending but never breaking his musical cubicle.
Drummer Igor Escudeo delivered the strongest live component, splashing clever fills in whenever things started to get redundant -- reminiscent of the counterintuitive, restless percussion of Manitoba-era Caribou.
Lead singer/bassist Ekhi Lopetegi hypnotized but never gospelized, true to the band's recordings. Vocals are just another layer in this democratic experiment, but Lopetegi's assured gaze still betrays a sense of his importance to the project.
, which made it immediately clear that the female backup vocals heard across the band's music are samples (hopefully someday that will change). A dramatic, prolonged build and a solitary balloon filled the GAMH soundsphere.
Ayrton Senna, which signaled the band's arrival last year, was paid additional diligence last night with "Deli," Lopetegi refraining "I like the time I spend with you girl" ad infinitum, somehow gaining meaning rather than losing it.
"Stay Close," the first cut from the band's latest LP, Subiza, and its most celebrated track to date, soaks in the same drama as "Seasun," a dreamscape of beachside dancehalls and urban tropicalia. Next on the album and in the show, "Real Love," felt a bit spaceier than the previous numbers, but never wavered from the trademark Balearic beat. Delorean kept it chronological on the next track, "Endless Sunset" (which follows "Real Love" on the album), continuing the dance/outdoors-on-a-sunny-day vibe. Enough of this paying attention, it was time to get on the floor.
did in its opening slot to encouraging auditory effect. The band somewhat lacked in stage presence (lead singer Callan Clendenin stroked the mic stand nervously throughout the band's 45-minute set, only occasionally reveling in what was a superb dance/Caribbean sound). Sampled steel drums pulsed emphatically while drummer Alex Pasternak stood up to leverage large percussive explosions while wearing socks. These boys are Brooklynites now, but regional identity is fleeting with Lemonade, which could easily share a Brazilian dancehall DJ set list with Delorean and the likes of El Guincho, another Barcelona phenomenon.
Butterfly Bones: San Francisco's own had an impressive idea going and could be something to watch out for when they flesh out the live sound. The trio relied heavily on the laptop, but what we heard felt fresh. More please.
Setlist -- Lemonade
Hot Funky II
Remain in Jah
*the closing song is brand new and untitled
Setlist -- Delorean
It's All Ours (Fruit of Love mix)
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When God gives you Lemons, make island-celebrating dance music, as once-S.F.-based
Delorean put its poppiest foot forward: a slightly altered "Seasun," off the EP