Delays are the very definition of “underrated”. Seriously, look it up in the pop music dictionary and you’ll see a picture of them. But whilst they once showed a desire to make it big, these days they’re not letting anything stop them from putting on a great show.
Wednesday’s gig at the Relentless Garage in Islington showcased a more focused Delays. For the first time the track listing seemed deliberate - every new song introduced beforehand and packed between enough classics to keep the crowd’s attention from slipping for even a second. And they have plenty of “classics” to choose from. Four albums in, Delays may have not garnered the recognition they deserve, but they’ve succeeded in building up a devoted (and sometimes embarrassingly fanatical) fan base. And whilst the fans may not have acquainted themselves with the new tracks as passionately, they continued to show off their support.
The band is more aware of this than ever. Every single gesture to the crowd or witty comment between songs provoked some kind of reaction, and they do well to make the most of this ability. The structure of the gig was cleverly thought out too. The best part of latest album, Star Tiger, Star Ariel is the dreamy atmosphere that was created, and between lead singer Greg’s incredible falsetto and brother Aaron’s expert synth work, the band did an amazing job of translating that to the stage.
The hardest thing for a band like Delays to do is state their presence during the evening, without knowing who exactly is there to see them play. Opening with an impromptu acapella of Hey Girl was a brave decision that fortunately paid off - any pre-gig chatter was instantly extinguished and all eyes were on them to carry on delivering. And deliver they did.
After a mass dance-off to Valentine and ending on the beautiful The Earth Gave Me You, the guys then announced they were giving away free tickets to a future show. A nice pay-off for those singing along to every word.
The pop music dictionary definitely needs a shake-up - let’s put Delays next to “unmatched”