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The Delta Riggs: Thur, April 11 @ Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane

Words by Marco Zande - Published on April 15, 2013

Thursday was not the first time I’ve seen The Delta Riggs. I stumbled across them at last years Peat’s Ridge Festival (RIP), at 2am in a festival haze. They blew their harps and strummed their guitars in a way that grabbed you, made you sit up and pay attention. Something about them reminded me of Kerouac’s Dean Moriaty, who was all about the “mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars”. Fast forward to last Thursday and I was eager to see what they had to offer. I wasn’t disappointed. Playing on the back of new album Hex.Lover.Killer, The Delta Riggs were joined by Still Water Giants and The Strums, at the normally sleepy Black Bear Lodge.

Brisbane locals The Strums were up first, playing a furious set full of energy and excitement. Characterised by catchy hooks and loud guitars they were polished and set the mood for the evening.

Stillwater Giants out of Margaret River were superb. I hadn’t heard any of their stuff before and am kicking myself for it. Front man Henry Clarke’s voice was celestial and the boy’s guitars were soaring and dreamy. At moments they sounded like Muse, or how Muse would sound if Muse surfed. With their beautiful melodies and dreamy summer tones, they almost made me depressed at the onset of winter. Their originals were stellar but the highlight of the set was a cover of Daft Punk’s One More Time, topical huh? Their songs ranged from lazily happy, to upbeat and dance inspiring. They’ll be with The Delta Riggs for the rest of this tour. But for now, here’s some of their stuff:

The lights dimmed and it was time for The Delta Riggs. Fontman Elliott Hammond, who also plays with Wolfmother, emerges alone and takes a seat behind his keys. He serenades the crowd for a few moments before being joined onstage by his band mates. They begin to play and they ooze rock ’n’ roll­–ripping guitars, classic songs and a general attitude that says: “cop this, you’re about to be entertained”. They’re a hard band not to like. They play many tunes off the new record, and Hammond, with arm draped over the mic and hips firmly cocked to one side, captivated the crowd with his larger than life persona.

A special shout out was made to the ‘hectic-est Brisbane crew: Bernard Fanning and Sunk Loto’ that marked the final few songs of their set. They finished with a bang and were ushered off by hearty applause. The house music and lights stayed off, indicating the boys were perhaps not finished. Called back to the stage by Brisbane photography veteran Craig Ratcliffe, proclaimed by Hammond a ‘silver fox’, the boys came back and played a couple more. Bantering with each other, they began their final song and finally brought the set to a close.

The Delta Riggs are reminiscent of a bygone era of rock ’n’ roll and they maintain this esotericism until the end, hinting at a secret show going down later that night. The crowd breathed a satisfactory sigh after the band left the stage for the final time and Black Bear Lodge was returned to its normal self for another day.

The Delta Riggs continue dates around the country, bringing their new album Hex.Lover.Killer to the people. Check out a preview of it here, and get out to see them:

He's a what? He's a what? He's a newspaper man And he gets his best ideas From a newspaper stand. - -

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