Delta Spirit Got By With A Little Help From Their Friends at the Observatory

Delta Spirit & Friends
The Observatory

Delta Spirit has a reputation– they're known for playing a captivating, kick-ass rock show. With chilling and poetic vocals by Matt Vasquez and catchy and groove commencing rhythms by Jon Jameson (bass), Brandon Young (drums), Will McLaren (guitar) and Kelly Winch (who plays a variety of instruments for the band but tonight, in particular, he killed it with a guitar solo); their shows are sure to never disappoint, especially considering we won't be seeing them on stage for a while after this.

The band have agreed to go on a sabbatical of sorts after their current summer tour as they take to time to be with their families and gin up new material for the next record, all of which could take well over a year. So it was really important to make this hometown show count. Exposed bulb lighting with copper wires covered the stage, propelled on stands arranged in varying heights. The central lights dimmed as the lightbulbs pulsated in sequence with the thumping drums as remaining band members took the stage.

See also: Before Delta Spirit Go on Hiatus, They'll Give Us One Hell of a Show


A little girl, wearing a baseball hat backwards, screamed with excitement on her father's shoulders. Vasquez yelled into the mic, “I have a really good feeling about tonight” and without further adieu Delta Spirit began “Bushwick Blues”; the southern California band's nod to their new life in Brooklyn, New York. “You going to sing or what?” Vasquez inquired, as he proceeded to sing “When we first met/We spoke so brief/When you sang a sonnet/ I hummed sweet relief.”

Next they performed “Strange Vine” off the album that put them on the map, Ode to Sunshine, released in 2007. Wearing black Nike Free's on his feet, an off-white cowboy hat atop his head, and a harmonica around his neck Vasquez announced that it's his niece Adeline was in the audience and it was her first show. Fans awed at her blonde locks and bouncy enthusiasm. On the far right of the stage Jameson danced with his bass guitar, wearing a jean jacket, faded navy Vans, and a NY hat. They performed “From Now On'” as a girl placed the palms of her hands over her heart, falling further in love with the heartthrobs on the stage. “This is a special night for us,” Vasquez said the those surrounding him. “We are playing alternative and acoustic versions of our songs,” he continued. They call up a friend to the stage from Laguna Niguel to perform “Parade”. Next up is “Idaho” and McLaren moves in a plie type motion with wispy layers breaking free from his man bun.

Vasquez grabbed the microphone to ask a friend to help sing the next song. “Matthew Costa can you please come to the stage?” Dressed like a fancy European, Costa approaches the mic, smiling but fairly quiet until they break out in a cover of The Beatles “Don't Let Me Down.” Sam Outlaw, LA-based country singer, took the stage next with a matching cowboy hat (to Vasquez) but “tighter jeans” Vasquez noted to the crowd. They sang Dwight Yoakam's country hit “1000 Miles From Nowhere,” turning their backs toward one another and jamming on their guitars. Next Vasquez performed an acoustic track with eyes shut, often ditching the mic in its entirety because his vocal range is daring enough to radiate throughout the Observatory walls. The room so silent, in awe, you could hear the hum of the wind. Pausing between songs to reflect, he welcomes back Costa to the stage, “A band can get big on the East Coast or the West Coast but it's hard to connect the dots. We can attribute that [success] to Matt Costa” Vasquez says.

A fan yelled, “Yeah! Martine!” Costa plays a song for us about a road trip titled (who'd have known) “The Road.” Praise for Costa is duly noted by fans as Luke MacMaster of, Long Beach-based band, Romany Rye is onstage. “It's special to see all my friends in one space,” Vasquez says. “I wouldn't be able to stand on stage like this if it weren't for Delta Spirit. Thanks for having me.” Next, the frontman performed a song written about his grandmother titled “Vivian” and following a harmonica heavy track “Live On.”

Richie Follin of Guards (and indie band Cults) now takes the stage, to join Delta Spirit for their most famous track “People C'mon” where the entire audience dances like hippies and belts out “I'm a wondering soul/I got no place of my own.” Before long Sameer Gadhia, lead singer of Young the Giant, appeared onstage singing “California” off Delta Spirit's 2012 self-titled album. They cement the night with an encore to “Oooh La La' where all guests join in onstage, showcasing this pool of talent, passion, and likeminded artists from Southern, CA that live to jam.

Thanks to PBS you can listen to Delta Spirit's ACL Live recording will stream for the month of June. To find out if you can catch them on tour, click here.

Set List
Bushwish Blues
Strange Vine
House Build For Two
Don't Let me Down (Costa)
1000 Miles From Nowhere
Language of the Dead
Romany Rye
Live On
Children/Blue Eyes
People C'mon
Push It
Add It Up

California (Sameer)

Oooh La La (Guests)
People Turn Around

See also:
The 50 Best Things About the OC Music Scene
The 50 Worst Things About the OC Music Scene
The 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List

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