Amid a thin fog emitted from a sorry excuse for a smoke machine, the nine members of The Delgados took the stage of a woefully half-filled Metro. Curse the booking gods for putting one of the best bands to come out of the UK on a Sunday night! But they took it in stride, saying that the Metro is the most beautiful place they have ever played, and at the end, gushing all over us, giving us mad props for being the best audience ever. I mean, I bet they say that to all their crowds. But I am getting ahead of myself.
First off, I am always afraid to see Dave Fridmann-produced bands live. He does such an amazing job of layering sound and making bands sound huge that pulling it off live can be next to impossible. I mean, even The Flaming Lips have to bring a trillion sequencers to pull it off. And Sparklehorse? Forget it. But this band, fronted by the tiny Alun Woodward (who looks suspiciously like Alan Cummings) and the tinier Emma Pollock (who looks like the editor of your high school yearbook), brought it. Both of their voices are larger then they are, and so clear, so fresh, so clean-clean, standing in stark contrast to their lyrical content. "All You Need is Hate," "Child Killers," and "Drowning" are some of the songs from their latest record Hate that they played, along with many from The Great Eastern, one of my top 10 albums of 2000. They sounded amazing, creating on stage the nuanced and beautifully orchestrated music you hear on disc.
In between the songs, they would banter in their thick Scottish accents about: how hammered Alun and Stewart (the bassist) got just hours earlier and were still able to pull off a great show; they are going to Kansas next and that due to the tornadoes that were flattening many parts of the area made them think they were off to see the wizard; Stewart had a shirt made at shop earlier that day with a decal that said "I sold my soul for rock & roll" that had a glittery skull on it that he was very proud of; and how this guy who was standing in front of me was the best dancer they have ever seen in their lives. I must explain this, as this flavored my experience of this show more than anything else. He was like 6'5" and had a tiny girlfriend, whose ass his hand seemed glued to. Until The Delgados rhythm just GOT him, and he would start dancing in manner that looked like an epileptic fit, landing somewhere between David Byrne in Stop Making Sense with that lamp and Elaine from Seinfeld with her crazy jerky thumb dance. And since this place was roomy, he made the most of it, sometimes taking his dance in a 10-foot radius. He actually danced a circle around me, kicking his long legs, flailing his arms. And then back to his girlfriend and her ass. Did I mention he was wearing this amazing white guy dashiki? It was pastel! He was amazing and The Delgados knew it!
They played for almost two hours that flew by. For an encore they did a cover of "Mr. Blue Sky" kicking the pants off the ELO original. And then they left the stage from the front, mingling with the crowd they said was their best. I even got a sweaty hug from a still drunk, soulless Stewart.
Source: Mary Nisi