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Jonathan Estuart

In the last year, the banner of “WTUL presents” has become not only a point of pride for the Tulane community, but also a signifier of quality live music. Having brought incredible bands such as Titus Andronicus to New Orleans last month and with groups including Chairlift and GIVERS coming in the future, WTUL has truly stepped up as tastemakers for the city. Tuesday’s Delta Spirit show at One Eyed Jacks continued this trend of high-caliber concerts.

Opener WATERS compared to a similar band with an equally un-googleable name, Girls, except with more fuzzed-out guitars. Though the members claimed to be pretty jazzed about their first time in New Orleans, specifically about partying throughout the next day, there seemed to be an aura of indifference onstage barely hidden behind lead singer Van Pierszalowski’s face-covering bangs and the sonic wail of the rest of the band. Not that it was bad – it was just a largely mediocre affair exacerbated by the boredom on stage.

When Delta Spirit graced the stage after a long intermission, the band burst straight into a version of “Empty House,” many times more raw and raucous than its third self-titled LP. In stark contrast to the opener, the band’s set was gripping and explosive, with massive sing-alongs that had the audience hanging onto frontman Matthew Vasquez’s every growl and scream. At home in various styles, the band jumped from The National-style anthemic indie rock to more folksy Americana, into twanged-out garage rock. By the time the band finally ended its encore with a rollicking rendition of its 2008 hit, “Trashcan,” complete with multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich banging on a trashcan lid, the energy on stage had seeped into the audience, resulting in an outpour of exuberance on both sides of the stage – a fitting end to an exciting night.