What do Fleetwood Mac’s North Carolina counterparts, two basket cases who brushed elbows with Graham Nash, and a wailing young woman have in common? Well, an awful lot. But most significantly that they could all be found at the 9:30 Club last Saturday. Delta Rae played a sold-out show with opening performances from up-and-comers The Falls and Angelica Garcia.
Although Garcia was easy-on-the-eyes, her cuteness couldn’t compensate for a severe case of mumble-mouth during her opening performance. If we were to return an elementary school report card to Garcia, the phrase “Needs Improvement” would be involved, and so would a note suggesting a speech therapist. While clearly a new performer, Garcia did manage to deliver something interesting to her audience with her loud voice and enthusiastic dancing… but a translator would have been nice. I would tell you my favorite song by her, or maybe my favorite lyric, but I would need the assistance of Kenny McCormick first.
Australian folk band The Falls was next to take the stage. The combination of vocals between Melinda Kirwin and Simon Rudston-Brown was at once dynamic and beautiful. Kirwin won me over as soon as she took the stage in a long sleeved, high-necked, short white dress, and no shoes, and when she spoke with her ethereal Australian accent she hushed and awed the rest of the audience. After telling how they almost didn’t make it to America for this show, Kirwin picked up an instrument that was the love child of a piano and a recorder and started keying (plugging? blowing?) away. With songs chronicling the rise and fall of Kirwin and Rudston-Brown’s romantic relationship, the music was reminiscent of Ben Howard with a female partner. Their songs “Home” and “Hollywood” will make you reach for tissues and your iTunes.
At long last, Delta Rae took the stage in dim lighting. Ian Holljes, vocalist and guitarist, began with a solo-rendition of their hit song “Chasing Twisters,” which turned into their song “Run,” which was taken over by sister Brittany Holljes. Vocalist/Percussionist Holljes stole the audience’s focus with her power-house vocals. As if having talent wasn’t enough, she commanded the stage in black lingerie and leather shorts. The vocals of Brittany Holljes, Ian Holljes, Eric Holljes (here comes the story of a man named Holljes), and Elizabeth Hopkins were nuanced and cohesive, melding together in perfect unison. Brittany’s performance of the song “Bottom of the River” gave me goose-bumps, and Hopkins’ performance of “Chasing Twisters” would have earned him an A+ on his report card. Their energy on stage was unprecedented, and made for what was easily one of the greatest shows I’ve seen. Not many bands have the chops to sound like they do in their recordings (*cough, cough* Passion Pit) but Delta Rae is an exception. Their 9:30 club show was the perfect kick-off to their American tour.