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Delaney Davidson - Gig Review: Delaney Davidson @ ADJO, Dunedin - 3/11/2020

04 Nov 2020 // A review by Darryl Baser

Cantabrian entertainer Delaney Davidson is on a smaller venues tour which saw him play in Ophir this week, along with shows at Dunedin’s boutique venue ADJO and at The Galley in Port Chalmers.

A mostly seated crowd of around 30 people waited, looking at the stage set up in the corner of ADJO, before Delaney Davidson swaggered his way through the crowd from the back area. (ADJO is a food focused venue offering a host of Nordic cuisine options - I can recommend the smoked salmon smorrebrod).

Delaney set up a percussive loop in an open e chord for the song Movin' On, and lit a tied bunch of medicinal spirit cleansing herbs, which smelled like sage, he then wandered around the room blessing or cleansing people.

After his return to the stage, he completed the opening tune. His second tune So Long, featured him again building up loops, beginning percussively before adding layers, with a song developing out of thin air. It’s a skill he’s most proficient in.

He's got his take on the low down dirty country blues down pat.

He introduces himself, and gets the crowds permission to summon the Haitian demon god Dambala (which turns into a song of the same name). I don’t know if he actually is a spiritualist, but he's got his shtick manicured to perfection, taking the crowd along for the ride.

Delaney Davidson is part songwriter, part snake oil merchant, and part vaudevillian showman. He has been blessed with great songwriting skills, both lyrically, and melodically.

During tonight’s performance it's obvious that he's road hardened, and loves taking people on the musical and theatrical journey he's on.

He can play conventionally very well, but isn't afraid to experiment, and in the fourth song Moon River, he detunes a hi-bottom e string to slack and creates a loop which sounds like an irregular heartbeat, then adds loops with his voice which sound like wind. He tells a story, asking audience members to imagine they’re 6-year-old and you’ve woken from a dream, you go outside… I’ll stop there as he tells so much better than I could write it. Suffice it to say this tune, like the others in the set, was a full theatrical production.

Following the at times sonic onslaught, he asks if people want "a nice traditional folk song?"

He obliges with a beautiful tune, describing it as an older song before sharing his lockdown story, "I’ve been staying at home a lot recently," he quips, offering to play a batch of fresh songs.

There are some new gems, one of which contains the words; "we got a mean streak flowing through our veins". It’s a really nice new song.

Another newer tune, Don't Walk Away From Love is a stunner. Delaney describes it as a more optimistic tune, but it wasn’t always the case, "it used to be called ‘walk away from love", he jokes, using his desert-dry sense of humour.

Delaney Davidson played for around 2 hours, keeping the crowd spellbound.


About Delaney Davidson

Part man part wheel, Delaney Davidson is part wandering minstrel, part travelling salesman. One hand holds a small brown suitcase; his trade, his ghost orchestra, the other holds his guitar. One foot firmly in the Blues Trash corner of the ring, the other on the road, you could say Delaney sees music as he sees geography, and that although he has certain preferences, in fact all territories are up for grabs. Ireland, Germany, Italy, Brazil, UK, Switzerland, Mexico, Austria, Romania, Belgium, Holland, Russia, France, USA, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, all destinations on the ten year Solo Tour with which Davidson has turned homelessness into a success of its own. Man of a thousand faces, his work with paint, music, film and concept all has traces of his unique take on life. Part new world and part old world, this duality is echoed in the flavours he evokes with his work; Past VS present, too loud for folk VS too quiet for rock, Light VS Dark, Davidson’s restless work refuses to be still for the portrait it is asked to sit for. A pattern we see in his own restless life, indeed, the apple never falls far from the tree.

This approach of DIY has a special flavour of its own, and can continually be seen in Davidson’s work.

While Davidson seeks to embody this ethic he also displays a degree of skill in his work. In a former life his painting exhibitions of Nocturnal Landscapes, in the early 1990?s, showed a minimal use of form bordering on abstract and a tonal blend of colours that were darker than black. What these works lacked in skill they made up for in concept; they delighted the man on the street and astounded the connoisseur.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Delaney Davidson


Word Gets Around
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Shining Day
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Devil In The Parlour
Year: 2016
Type: EP
Lucky Guy
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Self Decapitation
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Ghost Songs
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Rough Diamond
Year: 2007
Type: Album

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