Dorothy Delivers at Delmar Hall

Originally Posted on The University News via UWIRE

“Take me down to the West coast/ Where the sun shines all day/ Weaving through the heart of Los Angeles/ To the San Francisco Bay,” mused Dorothy Martin, lead singer of the L.A.-based rock band Dorothy. As part of the band’s “Freedom Tour,” promoting its 2018 album “28 Days in the Valley,” Dorothy played to a lively and spirited crowd at Delmar Hall on Feb. 6.

        The night got off to an energetic start with opener Spirit Animal, who were in St. Louis only three months ago when they opened for The Struts at the Pageant. From Brooklyn, New York, Spirit Animal released their newest album, “The Cost of Living” last year, although the band has been active since 2010. Spirit Animal lent a fantastic opening act that grew in intensity as the main floor filled up during their set.

The band’s sound is quite heavy at times, with booming bass lines and drum beats, but it never loses its strong funk element, maintained by Cal Stamp’s groovy guitar parts. Front man Steve Cooper also possesses a lot of charisma and adds an element of humor perfect for warming up a crowd.

About an hour after Spirit Animal’s set began, Dorothy took the stage, opening with a non-stop string of hard-hitting jams, including songs from the band’s first album, “ROCKISDEAD,” like “Raise Hell” and “After Midnight.” One welcoming aspect of the concert was the inclusion of some of these tracks from Dorothy’s first record, which had a much more aggressive and modern-rock sound than did “28 Days,” even if the former’s mix was slightly overproduced and less raw than the latest installment. “ROCKISDEAD,” like many modern rock albums, somewhat failed to capture much of the energy and natural tones of the band’s live performances. Thankfully, this shortcoming is largely ameliorated in “28 Days.”

The shift in style from Dorothy’s first album to the latest is dramatic. The entire band, except for Martin herself, was overhauled between the two records. “28 Days” bears little resemblance to the catchy pump-up tunes of “ROCKISDEAD”, going for a more retro and subdued vibe exemplified by tracks like “Flawless” and “Mountain.” To a certain degree, this shift may seem to be indicative of a broader or growing trend in rock, as bands like Greta Van Fleet, for whom Dorothy has opened, appear to be catching audiences’ attention by mixing more mellow, folksy sounds with a classic rock flavor.

At Delmar Hall, however, the band seamlessly adapted its old hits and performed its newer ones, such as “Ain’t Our Time to Die” and “Down to the Bottom,” with exceptional vigor. Moreover, the band accomplished the nowadays rare feat of sounding as good if not better than on their recorded album. Martin’s vocals were soulful and bluesy. What she may lack in range she more than makes up for with her full tone, passion and stage presence. Ax-wielders Owen Barry and Eli Wulfmeier, often dual-wielding chunky Les Paul guitars, complemented each other extremely well by at times adding zesty accents to lead parts while the other played rhythm and at different times playing in unison to pack some extra punch.

Dorothy’s forceful vocals and melodies were buoyed by the rhythm duo of bassist Eliot Lorango and drummer Jason Ganberg. The pair created a solid beat and interesting bass lines that added depth to each track, particularly during the band’s fervently booming instrumental jam sessions.

A lamentable part of the concert was Dorothy’s set time, which ran for just an hour, and felt cut short, partially because there was surprisingly no encore. The encore and one or two other songs may have been cut because Martin said that she was feeling under the weather, which, while it did not seem to have much effect, may have hurt her vocal dexterity.

The new, more classic sound of Dorothy was reflected in the demographics at the concert, which was a motley crew of people from multiple generations—from millennials to boomers.

Overall, the concert was enjoyable for fans of Dorothy’s old and new sounds, thanks to an enthusiastic opener from Spirit Animal and a delightful performance from Dorothy.

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