By Amaris Rodriguez
Saturday night at The S.P.A.C.E in Evanston, IL an up and coming folk rock group took the stage and delivered one of the best live sets I have been privileged to witness. Delta Rae, composed of siblings Brittany, Eric and Ian Holljes, Liz Hopkins, Grant Emerson and Mike McKee have found a unique style that is setting them apart from other musicians with a folk rock sound. This group of talented musicians have been able to not only capture that sound and energy in their albums, with the release of Chasing Twisters in 2013, but also into their performances.
When Delta Rae took the stage on Saturday night the venue came alive. They started off with an intro that consisted of parts of their song “Dance in The Graveyards” and then transitioned into “Run” both off of their Chasing Twisters album. As someone who had not been exposed to their music before, I was instantly drawn in as Brittany and Liz danced around while singing. Their unbelievable stage presence drew in the crowd from the beginning and held on to them until the end of the show.
Their second song, “Better off Alone” was sweetly dedicated to the single people in the audience which was met with whistles and applauses. The song allowed Ian’s vocals to shine and showcased that every singing member of Delta Rae can hold their own. “Morning Comes” followed with the crowd dancing and singing along.
When Delta Rae performed “Bottom of the River” the crowd went insane. One of their most popular songs, “Bottom of the River” had the audience stomping and bouncing to the rhythm of the drums and sounds of chains that play throughout the song. Brittany mesmerized the crowd with the haunting vocals and gave an experience that came across very natural and primal which is rare to find at a concert.
To follow that, the band performed a cover of the hit Bruce Springsteen song “Because the Night”. Perfectly played and sang, the cover song could have passed for an original to anyone who had never heard of it.
As a surprise to the crowd, the band went off mic to sing a brand new song. As the crowd silences Eric Holljes began singing “Doesn’t Get Any Better than This”. As Eric sang lead the rest of Delta Rae added amazing harmonies to back him up that blended together like something I had never heard before. After providing amazing vocal harmonies, the rest of the band left the stage as Ian Holljes sang “We All Want Love”. Accompanying himself on the piano, Ian sang the ballad beautifully delivering what is sure to be a hit for the Delta Rae.
For one of the best performed songs of the night, Liz Hopkins took the lead as she sang “Chasing Twisters”. A strong, powerful performance was clearly delivered with that song and really captivated the spirit and energy that composes Delta Rae. After “Chasing Twisters”, the group performed “Surrounded” and once again didn’t fail to deliver a great performance.
Probably my favorite moment of the night happened when Liz sang “If I Loved You”. Her voice rang through the venue as she hit each note perfectly and with emotion. This moment literally had the crowd going “WOW” as I heard it from more than one concert goer. Brittany came back into the lead as she sang “I Will Never Die” to close the show. Although through some songs each singing member of group gets to sing lead there is not one moment where they outshine each other as the rest of the group adds to what makes Delta Rae one of the best acts out there.
As fans cheered, Delta Rae came to the stage for an encore. “After It All” is a brand new song that’s been previewed during the tour has been received with positive feedback from the crowd.
In the end, Delta Rae performed “Dance in the Graveyards”. The crowd joined the band in dancing and jumping around closing the show in an all-time high. The end of the performance was met with along cheers as the band genuinely thanked the audience.
If you haven’t heard of Delta Rae yet it is time that you do yourself a favor and check them out. You will be treating yourself to a group of talented musicians that take a unique approach to the folk rock genre. The combination of their songwriting abilities mixed with musical talent and amazing harmonies have already won them many fans and will continue to win them more. Their performance at The S.P.A.C.E was energetic and captivating in a way that is very rare in this generation of musicians and that alone can open many doors for them. Delta Rae can dominate any stage they perform on and with their talent those stages are only going to get bigger.