Monday, April 13, 2015

{RECAP} greg holden, delta rae

On Friday night Concert Correspondent Morgan caught Greg Holden at the 9:30 Club -- check out her recap below!

You’re probably familiar with Greg Holden in an indirect way -- Holden co-wrote the song “Home” that Philip Phillips’ made famous and that you undoubtedly now have stuck in your head. Originally from Scotland, Holden is a soulful folk singer and like all folk singers, he clearly has the heart of a storyteller. “Home” only skims the surface of his tremendous talents -- The crowd at the 9:30 Club was treated to a series of his songs from his previous album I Don’t Believe and his soon-to-be released album, Chase the Sun.

Each song that Holden played told a different story -- some full of hope, others full of heartbreak. His raw voice, paired with a stripped down, folksy-guitar, added a soft, but powerful emotional intensity to each song. By the beginning of the second verse of, “Boys in the Street” the entire audience went completely quiet, aching to hear the end of the story. Enrapturing, each song pulled you in deeper. After a long work week, Holden’s acoustic, unplugged approach to storytelling was both meditative and rejuvenating.

I recommend checking out his new album Chase the Sun to get another one of Holden’s songs paired with his gorgeous voice stuck in your head.

After Holden, Durham-based Delta Rae took the stage with a literal bang. As a lover of live shows, I often find that I enjoy the experience of seeing a band live more than their album. Delta Rae is a band whose live show offers an energy and a joy that cannot completely be captured in a recording. At one point in the show, a woman behind me shouted, “Oh, they’ve brought the chains out! THANK GOD!” Before I could turn around and say, “Wait, what?” singer Brittany Hölljes began the opening to the gloriously haunting “Bottom of the River.” In addition to haunting lyrics, the band adds a sense of foreboding to the entire song by using actual chains as a part of the percussion. The effect live was a mysterious, eerie, and exhilarating performance.

While “Bottom of the River” is a haunting tune, Delta Rae is an incredibly versatile band and their set encompassed a variety of country- and folk-inspired tunes, including, “If I Loved You” which included the cheeriest guitar part to a break-up song that I’ve ever heard. Band member Ian Hölljes agreed, calling it the “happiest break-up song ever.” While my music tastes certainly include electro-pop and I love a good synthesizer, it was refreshing to hear a band whose roots were clearly from folk category stay true to the genre while still being incredibly innovative.

And, for the second time in two weeks, I found myself totally loving a cover. (And by one of my all-time favorite singers no less! D.C., I don’t know what’s happening to me...) Indeed, by the time Delta Rae ended the show with a cover of David Byrne’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” I wasn’t totally sure who had more fun: the band or the audience.

Thanks again, Morgan for covering this great show! Next up: We'll be sharing a quick video recap from Dan Deacon's show at the 9:30 Club on Saturday night.

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