All That Matters is the Music
Gig review and photos by Dawn
As befits their name (and unfortunately for their loyal fanbase) it's been far too long since Delays last toured the UK. The music scene is always infinitely more joyous when Hampshire's favourite sons are weaving their magic to get you lost in their melodies - and tonight's celebration of the tenth anniversary of their Faded Seaside Glamour album is no exception.
It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since their debut LP was released and since its hits Nearer Than Heaven and Long Time Coming graced the airwaves, not least because the songs don't seem to have aged at all - and the band barely seem to have either.
Aaron's infectious vocal inflections are still present, as are Greg's grand guitar poses and ambitious ankle twists; Colin is still as cool as a cucumber as he delivers his flawless harmonies and brilliant basslines, while the ever-smiling Rowly is still vying for the honour of Hardest Working Drummer in Music (but with a few less flying curls than he used to have).
Frontman Greg has grown in confidence over the years and is not afraid to silence the people talking halfway through his gorgeous solo rendition of There's Water Here, but still exudes an endearing shyness and almost childlike wonder onstage. Synth-playing Aaron, meanwhile, concentrates on the task at hand but still finds time to wind up his sibling about being a diva when he feels the need to cool off in front of a huge electric fan.
It's clear that all four are enjoying being back on tour, while the audience enjoy the chance to hear the Faded Seaside Glamour album in its entirety ("but with talking in between, so it's not strictly accurate", as Greg points out).
Tracks like No Ending and the glorious You Wear the Sun were always criminally underplayed on previous tours so it's a joy to hear them get an outing now, while On and Hey Girl sound as wonderful now as they did back in 2003 when the boys started out supporting acts like Clearlake and The Sleepy Jackson.
For many of tonight's crowd, the Southampton quartet have soundtracked the last ten or eleven years of their lives in some shape or form, accompanying everything from graduation to career changes and featuring in moments from heartbreak right up to wedding days. It's fitting, then, that once each and every track on their first album has been revisited, Delays then launch headlong into an encore of more recent tracks, including the clapalong choruses of Hideaway, the electronic euphoria of Lost in a Melody, the simply sublime You and Me and the delicious disco sounds of Valentine.
Leaving Leeds after the show there are several sets of roadworks accompanied by gaudy yellow signs declaring ‘Delays expected'. Let's hope it's a (literal) sign that it won't be too long until we can expect them back on the road again because they are, quite simply, a class act. As they sing in the very first track on Faded Seaside Glamour, and as they proved once again tonight, "all that matters is the music".
With thanks to Greg, Aaron, Colin, Rowly and Mike. Visit https://www.facebook.com/thedelays for more information.