By James Simmins
Another night of musical mayhem at the Cobden Club, courtesy of Mick P’s Café Rocks, this time featuring local artist Delphi and her band.
Arriving several minutes early for the gig, I took a couple of minutes to catch up with Mick P, to discuss his future plans for Café Rocks, having received the shocking news of the imminent closure of the Cobden Club (which I understand will be hosting it’s last ever night on New Year’s Eve). As someone who has promoted live music in the local area for many years (as well as a long stint at the Café de Paris), I’m sure that Mick will have no problem finding a replacement venue, although it is obviously a great shame that, having worked so hard to make Café Rocks at the Cobden successful, he should lose it at such short notice.
There was a good-sized crowd in attendance, with many familiar faces there to support a popular local artist. As the band assembled onstage and the audience gathered to watch Delphi took a moment to thank “All our loved ones for coming down”, before dedicating the first song “I’m On Your Side” to photographer Dan Donovan, who recently passed away. Starting off as a groovy rock’n’roll tune that was somehow musically reminiscent of The Black Crowes, Delphi’s smoothly delivered vocals had a slightly smoky, growling edge over a pulsating but groovy riff from bassplayer John. Halfway through, the song took an interesting twist, as guitarist Odrin played a Free-style 70’s-type guitar solo, which led to the song surprisingly mutating into a prog rock ending. Unpredictable though this was, it actually sounded quite good!
For the second song, “Give Me A Reason”, Delphi swapped her acoustic guitar for a cool looking black and white Danelectro guitar, that looked similar to a mini classic Rickenbacker. This changed the sound, which now took on a grunge-folk feel and, as the song developed, evolved into a more psychedelic groove with a Grace Slick type vocal before the song ended with a repetitive spiralling guitar riff.
The third song, “I’m Looking”, started off with a classic slide country rock riff over swamp rock drumming from drummer Michael. With an almost ZZ Top style bassline and periodic bursts of a Pretenders style guitar from Odrin throughout, the song broke into a jazzy Santanaesque end section, that included some great jazz cymbal work.
Next up was a song called “This Must Be Love” – a song that started in a relaxed folky feel, with Delphi singing and playing acoustic guitar over drums with an Irish folk feel and a more mellow walking style bass. Featuring a bridge that included some impressive tremoloed harmonics, the song eventually built into a dramatic all guns blazing style ending groove that gave real weight to the song’s climax. This was followed by a sparkling cover of Paul Simon’s “Only Living Boy”, which featured great backing vocals and a country twang solo from Odrin. By now the band seemed to be flowing very well, with Delphi’s vocals combining effortlessly with the lazy feel of Michael and John’s rhythmic accompaniment to create a light and airy feel, like a hybrid of Bowie and the Carpenters that worked well.
Song 6 was a number called “Can You See Me”. Starting as a country hoe down track with Led Zep overtones, this song quickly evolved into a more classic Stones-type feel, with a wailing guitar solo that incorporated a clever drop down. Delphi’s vocal delivery was relaxed yet strong, with a good use of dynamics that displayed either a deep musical understanding, or great feel, or both. The song broke into an end section containing a haunting guitar riff that gave the song an unexpected final twist.
The final song was a number called “Back Away”, written by Odrin. With Delphi singing and playing tambourine, the band launched into a Who-style intro that kept the audience up on their feet. With deep rocking vocals and the band full-on throughout, this was a fitting end to the gig.
Delphi and her band gave a committed performance that demonstrated what can be achieved with able and dedicated musicians – it would be interesting to hear this music recorded.
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