Live Review: Delphic

Manchester’s brightest indie-dance hopes take on their old-time heroes. Manchester Academy, Saturday, September 19

Something you’d have to be conscious of, coming from a city that’s doused in musical pride, is to not simply recreate the past. Judging by tonight’s set, if there’s one band capable of putting Manchester back on the map as the country’s white-hot forge of forward-facing electronic sounds, it’s Delphic.
Even so, how will they fare thrown on in front of an audience of real, old-school danceheads? Well, headliners Orbital are due on in an hour and there’s few people here for the band’s 8pm support slot. Or that’s what we conclude after a glance at the crowd (a sparse mix of glowsticks and beer) during opener ‘Clarion Call’.

Yet, by the time of our second look, the gentle euphoria seeping from the stage has worked its magic; in just four minutes the electro-indie trio – abetted for live shows by a real human drummer – have drawn a sizeable crowd in this huge space, and the newly converted are taken on a non-stop genre-blurring excursion through a five-song set. The awesome ‘Doubt’ sees James Cook’s gritty vocals meet Rick Boardman’s falsetto over some bold synth-bashing. New single ‘This Momentary’ feels
as much Mancunian as it does European; understated harmonies convene with dance beats for the secret after-school club that’s strictly for geeks. And if you didn’t know, when geek chic does music, it’s so well thought-out that it eventually takes over the world.

In the year since they became known locally for spontaneous gigs, Camp Delphic has gone cosmopolitan; their modern indie-dance direction – which fellow northwesterners The Whip helped pave the way for – proved a winner on a recent trip to the Far East.

“The great thing about Japan is that people are very respectful, there’s no chattering between gigs,” explains guitarist Matt Cocksedge. “The reaction was good; Japan’s big on electronics and western indie.”

But it doesn’t matter what city, venue or country you’re in, ’cos with the beauty of tracks like ‘Counterpoint’, Delphic’s indie-electro-rock-rave-pop will take you all out dancing. And what of supporting an English institution such as Orbital? “They’re two of the loveliest guys I’ve ever met,” continues Cocksedge, “but it’s odd going onstage before them, playing music they’ve influenced, then watching the original. They’re an inspiration to our band.” Give them a few years, and Delphic could be inspiring followers of their own to keep pushing the sound forward.

Kelly Murray