Live Review: The Delines + Freddy Trujillo, Junction 2 Cambridge – 12th June 2024

Photo: J. Aird

The Delines are, of course, widely popular with the readership (and writers!) of Americana UK so it should come as little or no surprise to hear that the band’s appearance at Cambridge’s Junction 2 venue was nothing short of rapturously received from the opener of ‘Little Earl‘ through to the heart-wrenching encore closer of ‘Let’s Be Us‘.  A set which drew heavily on “Seadrift” but was punctuated with a number of new songs which, maybe, will be on an upcoming album due next year.

The Delines are well known for featuring songs about life not turning out as one would wish, serious observations on love running dry, money running out, routine grinding down so far that there’s nothing less – and all that was present.  There’s something of a new side to the band though with an embracing of what can only be described as humour.  ‘My Blood Bleeds The Darkest Blue‘ is a couple arguing about who hates who the most – but it’s also a recognition that they are inextricably bound together, “You’re the only man who’s ever gotten to me” sings Amy Boone with Willy Vlautin reciprocating the sentiment.

Photo: J. Aird

There’s more typical fare on the jaunty ‘Maureen‘, who has gone missing – as has the money and someone else’s car, whilst ‘Don’t Miss Your Bus Lorraine‘ tells of the fate ofan ex-con who society is not all that interested in giving a second chance to. And there’s heartbreak, heartache and a significant amount of mournful trumpet from the talented Cory Gray (he also has a new album out with his jazz project Old Unconscious which strays in places towards Ambient Americana).

Photo: J. Aird

And speaking of talented, hidden away at the back of the stage Sean Oldham proves the maxim that ‘no band can be truly great without a great drummer.‘ He’s a power, driving the songs along with his gentle cymbals adding discordant shimmers to several songs and, of course, he fills out the sound with backing vocals.  Speaking of vocals, Amy Boone was on excellent form – her voice carrying each emotion that Willy Vlautin’s songs. Demand, desperation, despair, concern on ‘Colfax Avenue‘, justified rage – and guilt – on ‘Haunted Place‘ and on ‘Tenth Floor‘ a romanticising of a stolen moment.  Her finest moments, perhaps, are the wells of despair of the bring you to tears ‘He Don’t Burn For Me‘, ‘Awaiting On the Blue‘ and ‘Let’s Be Us‘ which all, in their ways, long for a lost moment when everything was good.  As a gig it was a beautiful thing to witness, and all the better for being a standing gig – good choice.

Photo: J. Aird

The Delines and Richmond Fontaine bass player Freddy Trujillo had proceeded his bandmates into the UK and so appeared twice – in the band of course but also opening the gig with an acoustic guitar and a bunch of songs taken mostly from his latest recording “I Never Threw A Shadow At It” which show that he’s a songwriter with his own voice – although there were also a couple of songs that Willy Vlautin had had a hand in. An engaging performer with stories that are difficult listens sometimes – the album’s title song tells of Trujilo’s treatment by the police when he reported someone trying to steal his car.  He was the victim, so why did he end up handcuffed?  There’s a similar honesty in Trujilo’s introduction to the daydream of ‘Windows‘ which he explained came out of a time when he was having marital difficulties, now he assured us, resolved.  The edgy ‘Corpus Christi’ shows the Richmond Fontaine influence, perhaps, with an unspecified act making it unwise that the protagonist of the song should ever go back to the titular town.  Freddy Trujillo is looking to do further UK gigs to further his solo music, so if the chance arises it would certainly be worth catching him at future gigs.

About Jonathan Aird 2779 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
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keith hargreaves

Great review Jon
Sorry I didn’t see you or I would have said hello