Saturday 3rd December 2011

Delta Mainline, Molly Wagger, Will Hanson

Will Hanson

Dynamics are such a key element to an enthralling performance, it’s always upsetting when a band forget them. Thankfully, Will Hanson and his trio are not afraid to use light and shade.

At heart these are lovingly crafted singer-songwriter songs, with intriguing lyrics to match. “Angels with bite marks are waiting for me…” They are delivered with emotion and intensity. The first hint that they are not afraid of a little noise is that the drummer most closely resembles Animal from the Muppets. And that’s a good thing.

What having a band allows is for the genres to be crossed with ease – in fact throughout the set we move through a Who’s Who of British Indie, from Manics, Elvis Costello, even Pogues, to early, angry Radiohead. Hell, it even hits disco for a while.

Molly Wagger

Making the journey from London specially, Molly Wagger are eagerly received by the home crowd. It’s a slow build into epic indie. Music to stare out of a rainy bus window to. Or sit on a sunny Portobello beach and feel utterly miserable about it. Or have quiet afternoon in a bothy as the wind howls outside.

It’s a big sound they produce. Harmonies abound as the two guitars swirl around each other. Our singer offers Rufus Wainwright melancholia, in content and delivery. And in the case of ‘Weekend’, also the slightest hint of Marvin Gaye sexy funk time, à la Let’s Get It On. Ah yeah. Or Jamie Cullum. Buy their music and decide for yourselves.

Delta Mainline

An almighty squall. The stage is crammed with instruments and their owners are all singularly intent on making a racket. A very fine, very funky racket. Epiphones, megaphones, saxes, trumpets, trombones, synths, Les Pauls and shakers all vie for attention. It’s a joyous cacophony with swagger.

Whilst on the surface Delta Mainline most closely resemble the likes of Primal Scream, Stone Roses, or Happy Mondays, their name hints at the blues of the Deep South and actually the band owe more to the missing link between these two – the great British Boogie tradition – The Faces, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Frankie Miller. And let’s not beat about the bush – Delta Mainline could give the Scream a run for their money.

What’s more, they don’t just play – they put on a show. Each number has a definitive start and end, often with flourish, but there remains a constant storm of noise to maintain presence and momentum. Sometimes contemplative, sometimes anarchic. Always effective. It looks like they play about five times a week, and that it pays off.

(Words by Rob Sproul-Cran)

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