I can’t really trace my journey between The 100 Club and the conjunction of four tree trunks in an ancient wood in North London, but this is where I chose to start writing this review. It might have something to do with the fact that it’s been three years since I found myself in this mindset again, almost as long as it has been since I was last in The 100 Club.

I went to this gig positively biased as I absolutely loved the sophomore album ‘Recovery Effects’ by The Black Delta Movement. Even though I was utterly ignorant of the talent of their support bands, this was the perfect opportunity to listen to the band’s latest release live. The announced stage times were kept to the minute, the music we were listening to between the bands was relevant – including songs by The Pirates and The Strangeloves – and added to the atmosphere.

Oliver Marson – A troubadour travelling through the decades

Appearing on stage as a band of four, Oliver Marson quickly made rapport through his humble appearance, music, and unique dance moves. For the next few minutes, we had the pleasure of enjoying most of his recent releases and get a grasp of his influences as a musician.

Oliver Marson stage photographIt’s a combination of traits that have to do with the way someone addresses the audience, their own response to the music and the style of performance, that defines the qualities of a performer and Oliver has these qualities in abundance. His music, the lyrics, and his voice have the kind of melancholy that one is enveloped by when listening to Tears for Fears, David Sylvian or even The Psychedelic Furs. There is a subtle but quite fierce darkness in the lyrics of songs like the post-punk ‘Manipulator‘, a darkness emphasised by Oliver as heOliver Marson live photograph wrapped the microphone around his neck and held the pose. Ballads and more upbeat post-punk songs filled the setlist, accompanied by the interesting quirkiness of Oliver’s Joker-like choreography as he covered the whole stage (with a knowing nod to Peter Murphy’s iconic bow on the cover of ‘Deep’ and Morrissey’s early stagecraft) making contact with everyone who was there early enough to enjoy his set. This pose was part of Oliver Marson live photographhis vocabulary and added a different, unexpected dimension to the lyrics and melodies. At times exploring darkwave routes and at other times showing an endless dark romantic face, Oliver made his mark on the stage as a troubadour of darkness and disappeared with the last notes of his closing song.

Taigen Kawabe- A character taken out of a Japanese horror movie

Almost without missing a beat, another obscure and bizarre creature crept on stage like a ghost,Taigen Kawabe photograph eager to haunt and tease the unwitting eyes of those around it. We couldn’t really understand why a musician would spend more time stretching than setting up equipment, but the mystery was both charming and bizarre. Of course, everything made sense when the performance unfolded.

As far as surprises go when it comes to a gig’s line-up, Taigen Kawabe was probably one of the biggest ones I have experienced. Not only did he disrupt the aesthetic Taigen Kawabe stage photographcontinuity of the music, but he did so in such an absolute way that he created a conceptual rupture. Moving away from the music style Bo Ningen (his former noise rock band), Taigen rocked us with a combination of breakcore and noise-induced trap with which he conjured the energy to transform himself on stage.

Taigen’s appearance was cinematic, daring and truly unexpected but provided some answers to our own

Taigen Kawabe live photographquestions about how can someone get from a place where a lullaby is being performed to one where they are the embodiment of the utmost evil in the universe? We got very few glimpses of his face while the rest of the body was gesturing and moving in disquieting ways (hence the stretching), often giving the impression of dislocated limbs! The voice, at Taigen Kawabe live photographtimes uneffected and at other times distorted beyond recognition at the touch of a pedal, increased the impression that the creature moving in front of us was throwing curses in every direction. Unapologetic and fierce, Taigen filled the room with a darkness that it wasn’t ready to deal with.

The Black Delta Movement-A band from the North of England with a sound from the south of America

We waited for a mere five minutes, accompanied by the soothing melodies of The Strangeloves, before The Black Delta Movement filled The Black Delta Movement stage photographthe stage with a very different type of darkness. They must have the power to read minds, I thought when I heard the first notes of ‘Zip-Tie‘ my favourite song from their sophomore album (and the single released in advance), open their set. Very soon I realised two things: firstly, that I had to remind myself that this was NOT an American band that travelled through time to bring us a heavy rock set enriched with the spices of the Delta blues and secondly, that this was NOT a band with a central point of focus.

First things first. If, like me, you went to Google looking to find an obscure movement in the 60s

The Black Delta Movement stage photograph

in the American South called ‘The Black Delta Movement’ then, possibly like me, you would be a tad disappointed not to find anything there. If, like me, you first listened to this album and then started looking the band up and were shocked to learn that they came from Kingston-Upon-Hull (and not from anywhere in America) and still managed to sound like a 60s rock band, then we have a similar starting point. The second thing I realised was that the live band we had in front of our eyes did not revolve around a central point of focus. Matt Burr, the lead vocalist, was at one end of the stage while Liam (Yates) and Matty (Laws), on guitar and bass, occupied the other end of the stage, leaving the centre to Sam (Matthews) at the drums and us Sam Matthews The Black Delta Movementpaying attention to the whole shape and not to one part of it. Later, when Matt introduced every single musician on stage as well as all the people behind the production and release of this album, it became apparent that a generous logic runs through the core of this band. Of all the bands I have seen on stage in my short life, it is only PJ Harvey (and now Matt Burr) that has introduced the whole band every time and everywhere they perform, and this is something worthy of respect.

We listened to a great combination of songs from their latest release ‘Recovery Effects’ and their debut album ‘Preservation‘, alongside ‘For You‘, a song from the debut album of the band which they had never performed live before. ‘Seven Circles‘, from their 2016 EP, was also The Black Delta Movement stage photographincluded in the setlist to showcase the band’s journey to this point. ‘King Mosquito‘ elevated the energy towards the end of the set with the mature garage rock feel that traversed the band’s debut, while ‘Hunting Ground‘ and ‘Ivory Shakes‘ brought in some of the heavy vibrations and deep sound of that album too that nodded cleverly to the riffs of The Smiths and the Stone Roses. While the sound of ‘Recovery Effects’ is closer to the lighter side of 60s psych, it still hasn’t lost the power which becomes apparent from the syncopated slower rhythms that traverse this album. If ‘Preservation’ winked at The Sonics, then ‘Recovery Effects’ winks at Sonic Youth and The Doors. Where ‘Preservation’ addresses the heated spirits, ‘Recovery Effects’ dictates a different listening experience, calmer, more civil in some ways. The gig brought the two energies together and made us feel something of the way they were thinking when creating this new album.

Fourth Pass Over To Graveyard‘ was a special moment in the evening as the band invitedThe Black Delta Movement and Barrie Cadogan Barrie Cadogan (from Little Barrie) on stage, praising him for his guitar skills and contribution to ‘Recovery Effects’. It wasn’t just mutual appreciation that made their stage encounter special, it was the feeling that there was an osmosis of the individual guitar playing styles of Matt and Barrie, to the point where an effortless power came through this song that was hidden from us outside of the live setting.This is a stage photograph of Barrie Cadogan

There was no doubt that The Black Delta Movement pleased the multigenerational crowd that filled The 100 Club that night and, no matter what they will do in the future, I think I will have to keep reminding myself that this band is not from America.


You can see more photos from this gig here.

Blaue Rosen box





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