Morgan Delt live review - Moth Club, London

Morgan Delta with support from Indigo Child and Psychic Matters

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(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

Moth Club is a real treat of a venue. Nestling down a side street in London’s grimy yet fashionable Hackney, it looks like a working men’s club from the outside, but inside the venue resembles a sauna-cum-disco, resplendent in beechwood wall tiling, golden glitter and plush velvet. Decadent, whacked-out and dripping in retro kitsch, it’s perfect for tonight’s psych-prog bill.

Openers Indigo Child are a concoction of Super Furry Animals, Supergrass and Tame Impala, and they make music that could suit a Balearic poolside nightclub without wandering too far into jammy territory. On the other hand, the second warm-up of the night, Psychic Markers, opt for the low end of the scale with a bizarre mix of doo-wop, Joy Division, post-rock and Krautrock, which is a regrettably sluggish intro for our headliner.

London is a long way to come for Californian Morgan Delt, who is only playing a handful of shows in the UK. His sun-soaked, mind-warp compositions that unravel like a collection of Instagram filters in tribute to the rose-tinted flower power era seem inexplicably relevant for today’s culture vultures. Of course, it helps that Tame Impala’s reverb-drenched West Coast musings have paved the way for Delt to put his own spin on the genre.

Slim and sporting a mane of parched blond locks, Delt looks every part the surfer hippie. Before the show he chinwags with friends in the audience, looking relaxed with a beer in his hand. Yet despite all the ingredients for a top concert – a new album out, one of the coolest venue’s this writer has seen and a sizeable crowd in attendance – the set falls a little short. Or maybe it’s because the dreamy visions that echo on record just don’t translate on stage.

Delt’s brought a band along, even though his newest LP, Phase Zero, is performed entirely solo. It’s an album to get lost in, helped by swathes of whispered vocals, echo and haze, but in this venue, those effects dissipate.

That said, the phased guitars and jangly pop power of songs like Chakra Sharks and the lush tones of The System Of 1000 Lies hold enough sway to suck you in. The slow and steady burn of Little Zombies fills the room, the vocal harmonies on Barbarian Kings give melody to an otherwise bonkers composition, and the optimism of Some Sunsick Day is like staying awake until sunrise – just a little bit trippy.

Delt barely says a word, but with music this hallucinatory, it would be a shame to bring it back down to earth with such mundane things as chat.

Morgan Delt - Phase Zero album review