Deleted Scenes are at a critical point in their career. They are rereleasing their second album, Young People’s Church, on a new label, Park the Van. When the half DC, half Brooklyn four-piece stopped at Red Palace this weekend to play for a packed in crowd of fans and friends, they betrayed no hint of anxiety about their new success, only a kind of excitable fervor. The thoughtful, dreamy songs Deleted Scenes recorded on Young People’s Church changed tone when the band played them live. It was for the best—Deleted Scenes flicked on an intensity switch, each member bathed in red light and sweating, jamming with focus despite the gentle rocking recorded on Young People’s Church. On for example, “Bedbedbedbedbed,” Scheuerman’s vocals rose to the top, clear and loud over slow guitars and a sparse drumbeat, highlighting the beauty and direct quality of their individual parts and lyrics in lines like, “Won’t you crawl into my bedbedbedbedbedbed? … You are a miraculous song in my head.”
A few songs into the set, Scheuerman asked for requests. There were shouts for titles—a lot of them. “You guys know our songs,” he said, “This is weird.”
Armed with back-up “oohs” from his bandmates, Scheuerman punctuated the staccato chorus of the song “In the City that Never Wakes Up” (“In. The. City that never wakes up”) from their first album, while guitars and atmospheric synths wove into one another. “This song is about running out of gas in the desert,” Scheuerman said before the band launched into the tense and mysterious “Future of Hair Metal.” The quirky, fuzzy “Ordination Day” was another request. It’s on this song particularly that I could hear the comparisons that others have drawn between Deleted Scenes and the Talking Heads, in the tone of the vocals and the wandering, circus-like guitars. A rose landed on the stage, and Scheuerman tucked it into the neck of his guitar while introducing “English as a Second Language” by way of telling us, “I told a girl I was going to make an album out of old IM conversations we had—I only got one song out of it.” This was it. The song is rich with bass-focused melody and thoughtful backup vocals. A live audience intensified the founding atmosphere of the song; it barreled toward a heightened state of being while the crowd danced and sang along. They also played “Hyperbaric,” a song from a 2007 EP, slow and rhythmic and dramatic and wonderful (“I can just about forget about getting young again”). Ending their show with “Get Your Shit Together for the Holidays,” “Bedbedbedbedbed” and “Fake ID,” Deleted Scenes left the audience head-bobbing and rollicking on the floor in front of them.
Second to play were their new labelmates, the Delaware-based Spinto Band. Often using a three part harmony in front of their nostalgic, surf-rock style melodies, they were ready to pop off the stage on each song, the carpet underfoot bunched up from onstage, mid-song kicking and dancing. Tantalizing, highfalutin’ guitar parts, passionate vocals and well-placed synths kept the audience interested especially on catchy songs like “Leave Yourself Alone.”
Pree introduced both bands, a DC-based quartet with an unexpected number of uncommon instruments, including a melodica (a whistle/keyboard of sorts) and a singing saw (more common instruments included a flute, xylophone and sleighbells). The unusual line up gave the songs a rustic, out-in-the-country style. The folk/pop numbers drew strength from their frontwoman May Tabol’s vocals, which stood out from the rest of the band with a Feist-like tonality. Carefully arranged and paired with warbling guitars and bare-bones percussion, the band achieved a nostalgic retro quality.
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