Posted Mar 22nd, 2014 (1:12 pm) by Sarah Wilson
Roman Remains, Big Black Delta, Gary Numan
Image by Sarah L Wilson Photography

We went for Big Black Delta, turns out...they were one of three great acts at Altar Bar in Pittsburgh.

We first caught Big Black Delta live at Boston Calling last fall so were glad to hear they'd be coming through Pittsburgh as support for Gary Numan.

I have to admit, we went to this show for Big Black Delta. We left humbled. Not only were Big Black Delta as fantastic live as we remembered from BC, they were flanked by two other acts that blew us away.

First up was British Roman Remains. Roman Remains play a version electronic with a distinctly dark vibe that harkens back on some level to 90s industrial...in a good way. Capitalizing on the hypnotizing lyrics from Liela Moss, the music draws you down with them into a dark spiral. Engrossing.

After their set, Big Black Delta took the stage. When we saw them live last it was a bright sunny day in Boston. Not a dark, moody stage in a converted church (Altar Bar is named such for a reason). And in the cool dark of the venue, under the flash and burn of lights Big Black Delta felt like a whole different band. Performing as a two piece, the music is darker, faster and made as if crafted specifically to seep into your blood stream and take over your heartbeat. The bass is strong but the beats are fast and deliberate. A dark hint of industrial dance melding seamlessly with electronic pop and even though it felt different than last fall...Big Black Delta were still fantastic live. Everyone was moving under the flash of light and the darkly shimmering sound of the duo.

Last up was headliner Gary Numan. I admit...I knew the one song of his everyone does: the classic "Cars" released back when MTV still played videos. Yeah...that MTV. Yeah, that long ago. If I'm being honest...I wasn't expecting much. I was wrong. I was woefully, regrettably and embarrassingly wrong. The one song I knew? Not even one of the highlights of his show. His new music is not only relevant...it's amazing. The music is a dark and delicate blend of layers of sound, keys, guitar, bass, drums, voice. And Numan's voice is like gravel rolling down velvet. The energy and passion of his music put artists half his age to shame. Dark, goth, electronic dance...categorize it however you like. Gary and his band were one of my happiest surprises in a live act ever.

Three bands. Three versions, and at least two generations, of electronic dance. Go out of your comfort zone and give these bands a listen. And if you're around to catch a date on the tour, do it. You, like me, might be pleasantly surprised.

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