The Mysterious Morgan Delt Brings His Trip To DC

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Mere weeks after Tulip Frenzy proclaimed Phase Zero “Psych Album Of The Year,” Morgan Delt brought a kick-ass band to the Nation’s Capital to prove the rightness of that claim.  But instead of the delicate, filagreed sound produced by Delt and — I dunno who else was in the studio with him… his cat? — for his tour he assembled a band that can raise the sonic winds, flattening whole cities with its sound.

The set at DC9 began right on time, with the gorgeous “I Don’t Want To See What’s Happening Outside” kicking off the set as it does the album.  That song folded easily into “The System Of 1000 Lies,” giving us the sense that this was going to be Delt and band running through Phase Zero the way, say, Wilco ran through Star Wars on its last tour prior to opening up the back catalogue.

But Delt soon deviated from his latest album with a foray into his even trippier, weirder eponymous debut, and what quickly became clear was that, even as he sings in a milder voice live than he does on his two albums, his band packs a punch that brings to mind Wand, with that band’s towering drummer Evan Burrows pummeling the songs along like a nuclear power plant.  Yes, we were in full Olivia Tremor Control territory, yes, we could imagine the frail, small Syd Barrett up there, not the tall and angular Delt.  But this was a powerful combo, able to extend ragas even as the pretty melodies of Delt’s songwriting insisted on being heard.

We think we’ve identified the drummer as Lionel Williams, and let us just say he is a force to be reckoned with.  But so was the whole band.

Delt is a young artist, ambitious and with buckets of talent.  We hope that Phase Zero is just an intimation of the great things to come.  We hope the next time he goes back into the studio, these guys who played with him last night are in tow.

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