When: Fri., April 6, 9 p.m. 2012
Delta Spirit leading man and former busker Matthew Vasquez recently told Rolling Stone that the only way he was able to survive this year’s SXSW festival was by sucking on Hall’s cough drops and drinking whiskey. His band was in the midst of playing 16 shows in four days — a grueling pace even by South By standards. And while we certainly hope the California boys are taking care of themselves, there are times when road weariness helps more than it hurts. This is especially true in light of Delta Spirit’s sound, which epitomizes a hungry, rough-and-tumble aesthetic. On past releases, ramshackle blues and Americana-inflected joints sat alongside the occasional out-and-out rocker, while the latter mode comes front-and-center on the quintet’s eponymous new full-length. Echoes of The Walkmen (owed in no small part to the Spirit’s new guitar player, former Willow William McLaren) and White Denim lend Vasquez’s opaque but inquisitive words newfound buoyancy that seems to assure live audiences will not depart un-slayed. Indeed, Delta Spirit feels like a kettle of water that’s been boiling for hours yet refuses to scream.