The Black Delta Movement


I first met Matt Burr, the lead singer of The Black Delta Movement, nine years ago, just before he started the band. His original group, The 303’s, I had played with back in Hull, and from that day I always got a good vibe from Matt; he was always happy to help and quickly became a well-known name around the Hull music scene, DJ’ing, promoting nights and of course being the lead singer of The Black Delta Movement.

Over the years they have supported a number of well-known bands including The Jesus and Mary Chain, Drenge, The View and Little Barrie. The gig supporting Little Barrie was crucial to what then became a huge change for the band. BDM impressed Little Barrie so much that they were set to go on tour with them until tragically the day before the tour their drummer Virgil Howe died of an unexpected heart attack.

After the sudden death of his drummer, Barrie Cadogan still remained a huge platform of advice for the Black Delta Movement and was the man who introduced them to their current manager and Mike Burham, who helped the band record their first album, Preservation. Gaining positive reviews from the likes of Classic Rock Magazine, Shindig and Uncut, the album consists of tracks the band had being playing for almost eight years at the time. Matt felt at the time like some of the songs were becoming almost a bore to play live, yet he wanted to record them, so that the past 8 years of the band, like the album is named, were preserved.

As you can image over eight years the band have had a fair few line-up changes and have toured all over mainland Europe, but as with all bands when you’re not Led Zeppelin, sharing hotel rooms and not getting paid enough money makes it difficult to treat the band as a full-time job. It has unfortunately led to members leaving the band, to the extent that it has almost become comical, as Matt mentions on stage tonight with a chuckle.

Walking into the Night and Day Café, I must admit I’m not overly excited – I have never been able to directly judge their live sound. They are without doubt a tight band, almost too tight in regards to it effecting stage presence. In the past I have stood there watching them and it just looked like Matt was the only member of the band really enjoying playing the set. With this gig I’m watching a band who really look the part and move like it too.

Opening with ‘Fourth Pass Over the Grave Yard’, it is immediately obvious that the new line up is bringing energy to the music that is impossible to do stood still. New guitarist Max Liney (also of Hull band Bloodhound), originally from Oxford, is bouncing around the stage like he has found a place in a band he loves; the rhythm just has some extra complexity to it. For me, there have always been slight issues with this in the past, it was always driven fast and hard down the middle, but this line-up change, as Matt had told me before the gig, is helping the band feel fresh again, opening up the creative process, giving different approaches to songwriting and stage presence.

A new song grabbed my attention: ‘Zip Tie’ has the feel of the Dandy Warhols, still heavy but with nice little hooks during the chorus, an indication of what is to come on the new material for sure. What was really nice to see was two middle aged blokes standing in the crowd singing along to tracks off the album – after the gig they told me they had seen them play at Rough Trade in Nottingham last year and had come to see them tonight after really loving the album.

Matt dedicated the next song ‘Seven Circles’ to the man who on that day had shot dead 49 people in Christchurch, because as he quite rightly said, “this song is about hell and there’s a special place waiting there for that cunt.” It’s fair to say I felt the anger in the performance of that track.

A couple of new tracks where played throughout the set and it just gives me confidence that what is next is going to be bright. By no means are they at the peak of their career as a band, this was only the second gig with their current line-up. They are certainly ones to watch out for in the coming months as I’m sure the new songs played will be getting recorded at some point and less of the first album will be played as they head into Chapter 2 of the BDM.

PS. They are only band I’ve ever seen have their own tea towels for merch.

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