Delta Rae Live, Delta Rae Bowery Ballroom, Delta Rae CMJ
Gospel stomp. Those two words introduced me to Delta Rae. I had to know what a band described like that sounded like. But after a few listens to their fantastic debut, Carry The Fire, a more specific description came to mind. Lets say you take the duo the Civil Wars, add two more fantastic vocalists and a full band, tilt the music to the poppier side, add a dash of twang, and there you have it: Delta Rae. Now that’s pretty hard to turn down.
All four singers are unique, and strong in their own right, but when they hit their gospel-influenced four-part harmonies, they sound like an entire choir, truly becoming greater than the sum of their parts. They all proved themselves solo as well. The instant I began to think one voice may be weaker than the others, they came at me with a solo part that took my breath away. During their creepy, yet entrancing, single “Bottom Of The River,” Brittany Hölljes literally gave me shivers with her humongous, brassy voice. Her brother Ian Hölljes at first seemed like the weakest singer of the group, that is until he really sang. When he bust into the group’s newest track, the mo-town flavored “Whatcha Thinkin’ Bout Babe,” my doubts were cast aside in a matter of seconds.
Although they only have one album of material to draw from, one rousing cover (Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”) and the danceable new tune filled the set out nicely. Luckily, their record has a surprising lack of weak links. In the live setting, every good quality about the group is amplified. The vocals are stronger, harmonies sweeter, stomps more booming, and lyrics more touching.
They had the crowd in awe for the entirety of the set. The show was perfectly orchestrated, and proved that the group is indeed ready for the big time. Or as the guy behind me put it, “Oh wow… That was wow… Woah… That was more than wow.”