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Must-See Artist of SXSW: Delicate Steve

posted by Laura Baker-Finch on March 28, 2013

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

    Delicate Steve, the moniker and full band of New Jersey’s Steve Marion, made it on my South by Southwest plan twice – once at the Dorito’s bold stage, which was followed by our interview with Steve, and the following day at HGTV and Paste's Stages on Sixth.

    I’ve always been drawn to instrumental music, there’s something about the lack of lyrics that allows for complete immersion into the music – particularly in a live setting. Yet I still feel I can sting along to Positive Force. It’s one of those rare albums on which a guitar sings in lieu of vocals. Even before the end of “Ramona Reborn,” I find myself vocally mimicking Marion’s slide guitar – an effect similar to when I start to sing a made-up language during a Sigur Rós show.

    While I didn’t ‘sing’ along to Delicate Steve either time I saw them during South by Southwest (thankfully), I nevertheless became enthralled in the live transformation of what I had previously only listened to via headphones. As I bopped and swayed in unison with both transfixed crowds I couldn’t hide the smile as Marion, Duncan, Pumilia, Peslak, and Sanchez played off each other, conversing between instruments, and oftentimes reaching a point were time signature is questioned.

    At the Dorito’s Bold Stage, the band managed to transcend the giant vending machine structure in which they performed – pulling in their audience closer not only to the stage (at the request of Marion) but also to their creative process. The songs may have held the same structure found on Wondervisions and Positive Force but the contents were tweaked and played upon, bringing out new meaning than that extracted from listening to the record alone.

    The following day I was able to stop by The Stages on Sixth for Delicate Steve Part Deux – an equally enjoyable performance with measurably less Doritos packets covering the tables (an absence I’m sure was appreciated by more than just myself). The smaller setup seemed to suit the band better - or maybe it was the absence of Doritos? - as Marion implored the audience to approach the stage, put on sunscreen, and join them in singing “Two Lovers” – or “Three Lovers” as one recitation of the phrase was cheekily switched to.

    Between the two performances, I had the chance to chat with Marion about forming his band, taking his fans on a scavenger hunt to promote Positive Force, biking on tour, and sitting down for a family-style meal in the midst of SXSW. Stay tuned for that interview coming your way soon. Until then, scroll through our slideshow of Delicate Steve at the Doritos Bold Stage and make sure to catch them at GoogaMooga this May.

    Follow @laurajbf on Twitter

    See Also:

    SXSW Friday Photo Highlights
    SXSW Photo Gallery: Saturday at SX
    The Great GoogaMooga is Back!

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

  • Photo by Laura Baker-Finch

    Follow @laurajbf on Twitter

    See Also:

    SXSW Friday Photo Highlights
    SXSW Photo Gallery: Saturday at SX
    The Great GoogaMooga is Back!