Delorean spark dance party at the Middle East

A review of Delorean at the Middle East Downstairs on November 21, 2010

, Contributing Writer

There is only one purpose to a Delorean concert: to dance. This is not to say that the music is merely to incite knee-jerk movement from the crowd, its warm, vibrant and rhythmically inventive. Instead, the reason for dancing, as they proved at their show at the Middle East Downstairs on Sunday night, is much more innocent.

Delorean hail from Spain and come out of a European tradition of indie bands that is generally a little more in tune with dance and ellectronica music. They’ve toured with the likes of jj and Miike Snow and this year they released their third and most widely popular album Subiza to general critical acclaim, proving 2010 to be their breakout year.

Yet, the band is not concerned with any of the normal concert proceedings, like talking to the crowd, announcing songs, stage banter, or crafting an ebb and flow within the set. They are simply concerned with playing a continual barrage of danceable upbeat music. There are no pauses, no breaks to point out their merch table in the back or talk about their recent album. They only care about playing music for the 90 or so minutes they are allotted, and in this way it’s the perfect combination of the constancy of a DJ set, with the flexibility of live music.

On Sunday night, Delorean took the stage and immediately laid into things. Pulling heavily from Subiza, the band fell into a groove and the crowd, which had been primed throughout the night to dance, fell right in with them. They moved through hits like “Stay Closer,” “Grow,” and “Real Love,” without giving them special placement or treatment.

Delorean, like the car from Back to the Future that gave them their name, thrive on speed. Not to say that the music always has to be fast, but the pulse always has to be present and propel everything forward. Like Boston’s own Passion Pit, Delorean like to take the spacey, reverb-laden sound of many modern indie bands and weave it in a collage of dub-styled beats and jumpy synth lines, giving the song room to build and morph throughout the course of its running time.

Bassist and vocalist Ekhi Lopetegi warbly tenor rises above the commotion, along with swirling vocal loops. His voice sometimes fell too low in the mix, until it came across only as a distant shout, but this was necessarily a bad thing. The lyrics, though clearly thought out and important in their own right, are as effective for their musical quality as they are for their actual meaning. The voice is for emotional effect, a kind of somber call, and helps to give the music a bittersweet feeling, clashing slightly with the music. This focus on the bittersweet is less important at midnight, when the crowd is in a caught in a fervor of dancing, and this speaks to Delorean’s approach: all the components can be important, but at its core, the music must speak for itself.

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