Delta Spirit and M. Ward @ Palace of Fine Arts

Last week, I caught M. Ward's show at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. After a spectacular performance as She + Him at Bimbo's, (see Nov. 7 post) I was curious how his skills stood up sans super-cute Zooey. Just as I hoped, he blew me right out of the water. While the venue was a little strange, (picture a giant auditorium with predictable red-velvet chairs where one might attend an 8th grade talent show or piano recital) M's soothing lullabies and bluesy riffs were just what the doctor ordered - and maybe its my old age talking, but it was pretty great to watch it sitting down.

I can't say the same for the opening act, Delta Spirit, who did not benefit from the seating arrangement. Their show, significantly more upbeat and dance-worthy, was just plain awkward when delivered to a seated (and inevitably immobile) audience. That said, they were extraordinary. The lead singer's raspy smoker voice was unlike any other I've heard, Dylan meets Jeff Tweedy, dressed like Tom Cruise from Risky Business. (yes, that would be the second RB reference of late, apparently I've got Tommy on the brain) It's too bad these cats are from San Diego. (which makes no sense considering the "delta" reference, which to me screams "we formed this gaggle of rockers in our dormroom at Ole Miss") I would have bet my life those dudes were Canadian. Can't explain exactly why, just a feeling...