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Published: 2015/07/22
by Larson Sutton

The Deslondes, The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA- 7/16

Photo by Sarrah Danziger

Four of the five wore hats, though of differing sizes and styles. The only one without a lid—Cameron Snyder, the drummer without a drum set—held a snare to his heart and kicked a beat on the drum at his feet. They stood in line, shoulder to shoulder, mostly, though leaving room for Dan Cutler’s stand-up bass, took turns singing lead, and often joined together in working class harmony that echoed with the miles traveled from Toulouse and Dauphine to this stage on the Sunset Strip.

Even the names, Cutler and Snyder, Downing and Doores, or John James Tourville, who spent the night sawing his fiddle, pickin’ his Telecaster, and crying on pedal steel, personify the melting pot of the group’s adopted hometown of New Orleans that has always preferred blends to dissolutions. The Deslondes prefer them, too. Riley Downing dedicating songs to service industry workers and swinging through rockabilly ditties like “Less Honkin’, More Tonkin’,” Snyder’s bourbon-slow sipping “Low Down Soul,” or bayou voodoo mixed with British Invasion on a number guitarist Sam Doores promised “ain’t sad,” while a sun-kissed blonde twirled a do-si-do with her grinning brunette friend—all part of the jambalaya.

On the strength of the quintet’s marvelous and rewarding debut, the hour-plus appearance reflected the recent spate of activity in Deslonde land, including “The Real Deal,” the tune to which the band filmed its first video, or “Simple and True,” a slow-dance requisite afforded plenty of floor space from the undersized audience. That’s okay, though. It provided the boys a better viewing opportunity to spot old high school friends in the crowd and say hello. Doores presented his “Depression Blues,” as relaxed acoustic downstrokes and puffs of harmonica spun the world at just the right speed before the cut-time shift shook the skirts and denim shirts. They covered the late JJ Cale last, on “Drifter’s Wife,” for a contented parting that suggested the road out of town has been just as agreeable as the one back home for these musicians from Louisiana.

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