Delta Nove, Bodega’s Alley, Lincoln, NE- 1/27
What a great night in the Midwest. It had been a while since some music rolled into the heartland and you could tell this small but exuberant crowd was excited. The scene was set for Delta Nove, a great band from Long Beach, CA with a mixture of funk, world beat, latin, jazz and rock sounds. The bar is small but proved a perfect setting for the thunderous sound that would follow.
Delta Nove opened with a world beat jam called "Hunjae" with thunderous bass and great horns. The crowd seemed to be still getting their drinks and trying to find their place on the floor, which left them mildly confused by this number but the next three had them grooving down till Budweiser called them again. The powerhouse of "Get on Down>We Live in Brooklyn (Long Beach)>Maracu Eu" had everyone bobbing their heads. The combo of Dominic Feedam on drums and Heath Bennett on percussion and vibes caused the room to shake with that great Fela Kuti vibe of yesteryear. Meanwhile, sax player Rob Covacevich set the tone from the get go and he was on throughout the night, complementing some great guitar work from Bobby Easton and bass from a gentleman known solely as the Viking. The other highlights of the set were a thunderous version of "Gimme Some More" and the latin vibes of "Just Cuz>Tororo."
During set break the crowd dissipated a bit. The downtown scene was going full throttle now and the other bars in Lincoln had what seemed to be more to offer than this little unknown treasure on "O" Street. Indeed, being in this scene for a while and has made me wary of the crowds because it seems like more and more they are there for the party and less for the music. But as the audience got smaller one could feel the vibe intensify.
The band came back out refreshed with the dark notes of "Deception." This weighty song explores some of lifes aspects that no one wants to talk about. From here, the band demonstrated its range, with the transition to "Earth Reggae>Soul Power 74." The percussion, guitar work and sax undertones in "Earth Reggae" made me think of great bands of the past like Israel Vibration, Fergus Hambleton, and Delroy Washington. Then "Soul Power 74" was the perfect cover for the night (everyone needs to know what Maceo Parker did during his period with James Brown alongside Fred Wesley and Pee Wee Ellis). The band pulled this off with a great segue jam and some funky sax solos by Covacevich that had me closing my eyes and wishing I was in New York in the late sixties. A bit later, "The Future is When" brought my only major complaint for the evening, as I wished Delta Nove had a keyboard player, as I would have loved to have heard some great Rhodes or Clavinet layered in the jams. The band then took it another direction with its final song of the set, a cover of Black Sabbaths "War Pigs," as Delta Nove gave the tune an infusion of funk that really made it the groups own.
As I walked out into the crisp cold of the night after a fine "Baiana" two thought came to mind: (1) Winter in the Midwest is great and (2) I wish I could see music every night of the week (or least music on the caliber of this evening with Delta Nove).