Delta Rae – World Cafe Live at the Queen – Wilmington, DE – August 29, 2015
It almost feels too simplistic to compare Durham, NC’s faves Delta Rae with Fleetwood Mac. After all they both have multiple lead singers (Rae has two women and two men, while the Mac had two women and only one man) and play a wide variety of musical styles – including aspects from rock, pop, country, folk, soul, gospel and more.
Delta Rae is even quite open about their respect for the older band. Mac member Lindsey Buckingham performed on their 2013 single “If I Loved You” and Delta Rae has been known to sing Mac songs like “The Chain” in concert. In fact tonight they interpolated a little fragment of “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win?)” into their original tune “I Will Never Die.”
There are a hell of a lot worse things to be than the new millennial Fleetwood Mac. Still I think that idea sells Delta Rae’s own unique talents a little short. If you had any doubt of that fact, the band gave some serious proof in this recent Delaware stop.
Opening up with a truly awe-inspiring take of their new(-ish) song “Outlaws,” the siblings Hölljes (Brittany, Eric and Ian) and old friend Liz Hopkins exploded with vocal fireworks, a wild and wooly mix of male and female vocals providing counterpoint and loving support. (Also unlike Mac, whose female vocalists had easily distinctive tones, Brittney Hölljes and Hopkins’ vocals are relatively similar and mix perfectly.)
Other highlights include the country pop nugget “Dead End Road,” the sweetly old-fashioned “Anthem” and a gorgeous mostly a capella take on “Any Better Than This.”
The band was always free with a nod to their influences. Besides slipping verses of Mac’s “Rhiannon” and Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” into their originals, they also played a lovely, delicate piano version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” (of all things!) as the intro to the fiery angry rocker “Bethlehem Steel,” in which Brittany showed she can shred as well as any metal front-person. Also the intro to “After It All” plays gorgeous acoustic tribute to The Beatles’ “Blackbird.”
As the show wound down, the band played their gorgeous new anti-violence ballad “All Good People,” which was coincidentally recorded the day of the tragic church shootings in Charleston, SC, a town the band knows well. They had rush released the song as a charity single, and while the song is softly mournful, it carries a distinct punch.
They closed the set with the gorgeous single “If I Loved You,” which Eric Hölljes explained was written as something of an answer song to Bonnie Raitt’s classic unrequited love ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” The band got to thinking about what it was like to be in the other shoes, the object of the massive crush who just does not feel the same.
The show closed out on a one-song encore, a spectacularly sharp and fun cover of Sia’s dance track “Chandelier,” which sent the audience out on a sustained high.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 1, 2015.
Photos copyright ©2015 Jim Rinaldi.