Published Nov 19, 2010The going line about seeing chillwave bands live is that there's always too much "chill," never enough "wave." Fair enough, but don't tell that to Small Black. After a fine performance by aptly named Brooklyn electronic up-and-comers Class Actress, the foursome -- who wisely bolster their live performance with a flesh-and-bone rhythm section -- quickly got the audience jiving and throwing their hands up. Their fine form was not to falter for the entirety of their set.
Of course, such an act was a tough one to follow, especially for San Francisco three-piece Lemonade. Lead singer Callan Clendenin engaged in some questionable "rock moves," holding his mic in too-dramatic fashion while hollering in a croon that wandered off pitch more than a few times.
The arrival of Delorean onstage was a welcome return to the intense energy of Small Black's set. Those who left the show early -- either because they had seen the act they came for, or because it was nearly 1 a.m. when Delorean began -- made plenty of space on the Mod Club's sizable dance floor, of which the remaining patrons made enthusiastic use. The band, who looked more like '90s grunge-rockers than sunny alternative dance-poppers from Spain's Basque region, belied their mopey appearance with a set that positively radiated joy.
Keyboardist Unai Lazcano and drummer Igor Escudeo were especially excellent. The former danced passionately and threw his arms up fervently as he rocked his keyboards and samplers back and forth during set highlight "Come Wander," while the latter propelled the band forward in a way unheard on any of Delorean's releases, with careful, complex snare rolls and emphatic builds that made songs like "Real Love" and "Warmer Places" all the more engaging.
The dancehall frenzy climaxed during the single-song encore, "Deli," capping off a warm and sunny spectacle that made it easy to forget the minus-degree weather outside.