It’s kind of hard to figure out how Delorean went from this to this. Part of it is the band clearly discovered Animal Collective at some point along the way, but that would be an unfair oversimplification. We can thank Animal Collective for bassist/frontman Ekhi Lopetegi’s transition from insufferable punk rock vocals to the clean, trance-inducing monotone heard on this year’s Subiza. But musically, Delorean is above the comparison, even if the band may never outlive it.
It might be hard to understand why until you see the band live. Maybe it’s because Lopetegi’s vocals are so much more natural in a live environment, without the studio touch-ups — or maybe it’s because there’s no way an Animal Collective show could inspire the semiconscious, uncontrolled dancing (we in the Bay Area used to call it “going dumb”) that became the scene at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall Wednesday night.
The Spaniards had some energy to build off of — local trio Buttefly Bones kicked off the night with a short, poppy Macbook-dance set, while formerly local trio Lemonade (now of Brooklyn) served as a sufficient warmup, shaking the floor with its bass-heavy, jungle-ready numbers. Lemonade had an interesting setup — the aforementioned bass, a standing drummer, a vocalist and a sampler or two. Vocalist Callan Clendenin was off-key much of the time, and the band may not have brought its best stuff, but perhaps it was all the better to get people pumped for the headliner.
Delorean made sure to continue the calculated assault on the floorboards of SF’s pretty little indie club, drawing heavily from the band’s post-2007 output, the material that has popularized Delorean enough to go on world tours in the first place.
There were little to no pleasantries shared between band and crowd; it was all business. Delorean, consisting of Lopetegi, keyboardist Unai Lazcano, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Guillermo Astrain, and drummer Igor Escudeo, may not have gone on long – clocking in at about an hour including encore – but the band made the most of its time. While this wasn’t a gig rife with awe-inspiring instrumentation, the Ibiza revivalists served as a shining example of how to impress everyone in the room without it. Whether it was Lazcano’s incessant boogeying (yes, I said boogeying and I’m sticking to it) or Escudeo’s sprightly fills, everyone on stage was doing enough by himself that attempting to watch the whole group at once would overload the senses.
Not that watching was the main point; except for a slow one to begin the encore, Delorean kept the tempo up the whole night. The band stomped through Subiza favorites like “Stay Close” and “Endless Sunset”, along with “Deli” and “Seasun” off the band’s 2009 EP Ayrton Senna. The right audience came out for this show – one willing to move from start to finish. It was no rave environment — no glowsticks or ridiculous outfits or robot helmets – but the few souls who preferred to stand and bob their heads were overwhelmed by people determined to overwhelm them. There were a couple almost-mosh pits near the stage.
It was certainly too short, which Delorean can get away with because America knows them mainly for one album. But Delorean gave SF quite a sendoff, with Astrain surfing through the crowd to finish up the main set. It was a bit of an artificial move, but it was also an assurance that Delorean is just getting started. Next summer’s festival circuit, Delorean is your friend.