Friday, July 14, 2017

Benjamin Booker drummer Max Norton steps out on his own with impressive Delta Troubadours

Posted By on Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 11:04 AM

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
The Delta Troubadours, Max Norton and Bad Fixes, Will’s Pub, July 12
click to enlarge The Delta Troubadours at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • The Delta Troubadours at Will's Pub
Although their recordings are decent, it’s the stage performance of Gainesville’s the Delta Troubadours that clinches it. Stout and Southern, this is blues-rock that really needs to be experienced live to fully feel how true and contemporary their rock & roll spirit is.
click to enlarge The Delta Troubadours at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • The Delta Troubadours at Will's Pub
click to enlarge The Delta Troubadours at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • The Delta Troubadours at Will's Pub
In their set was an early, pre-arena Kings of Leon cover (“Molly’s Chambers”), which actually says a lot about where they’re coming from. So imagine if, instead of detouring into glossy indie rock, the Kings had just stayed the course, dug in deep and cranked it up. There you have the Delta Troubadours.
click to enlarge Max Norton at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • Max Norton at Will's Pub
Both Tampa sons, opener Max Norton – who kept time for the Troubadours – is also known as the drummer for Florida breakout Benjamin Booker. And in truth, he’s the one I came out for. Often, the company you keep can be telling. So, considering how completely impressive Booker has been both live (this time and this time) and on record (his eponymous debut made my Top 10 of 2014) , this was a bet worth taking.
click to enlarge Max Norton at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • Max Norton at Will's Pub
Norton’s own music is very different from Booker’s. While Booker smolders with a soul-blues-punk inferno, Norton strokes pastoral indie folk with lots of scale, sweep and open sky. Atop the panorama, his nice voice is wistful and lightly weathered, like a more genteel Will Johnson.
click to enlarge Max Norton at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • Max Norton at Will's Pub
Even as leading man, Norton still mans the drums live while also singing and playing guitar. But in addition to his one-man band setup, he was accompanied by a separate bassist, the Delta Troubadours’ Jon Franklin. Consider further Norton’s horizon-shooting musical flourishes and his hollow-body guitar, and the result was much closer to a full band than a scrappy two-piece garage band.
click to enlarge Max Norton at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • Max Norton at Will's Pub
With a view that’s widescreen and immaculate, he’s got the youth and style that could do well in the contemporary folk tide that’s surging right now but with enough taste to not succumb to the more saccharine trappings of the class. However, he’s trying to rise in the shadow of a meteor, which ain’t easy. But there’s certainly enough substance here for Max Norton to count on his own if given enough light. And now you can’t say no one told you. He’s been known to play Orlando sometimes so keep an eye out for his name whenever it sneaks onto a bill.
click to enlarge Bad Fixes at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • Bad Fixes at Will's Pub
Awkwardly sandwiched between was local band Bad Fixes, who play a smooth-sailing blend of rock, funk and soul with confidence and flair. Unfortunately, it comes tethered to a freshman sensibility that’s prone to corn and probably plays better the closer you get to a college campus or the beach. Exhibit A: a Doors cover. Exhibit B: an actual song about cheese.
click to enlarge Bad Fixes at Will's Pub - JAMES DECHERT
  • James Dechert
  • Bad Fixes at Will's Pub
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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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