Fresh off their tour with Band of Horses, L.A.’s Darker My Love are back on the road touting their newest album, Alive As You Are, mixing it up with songs from their past. I hadn’t seen them live since they left their psych rock, trippy leanings for a warmer, more countrified, yet classic 60′s sound. It’s interesting to see how the band, having recorded their latest in San Francisco’s Hyde Street Studios, seem to have taken on influences of biggies who’d worked there before, most notably, the Grateful Dead, albeit making it their DML own with a Beatles-esque edge. Strangely, it may have been lead Tim Presley who I saw slumped in a chair downstairs by the coatcheck when we went downstairs after Delta Spirit was done, very poignant. Perhaps he was still upset after having accidentally spilled beer into his amp during the set.

Delta Spirit have definitely grown into their headliner status and tonight, were the best I have ever seen them. They looked woodsier than usual, (they all have a lot more hair and flannel now, except for that fabulously unchanging drummer, Brandon Young). The opened with “John Henry” from new EP, The Waits Room, released last week, and the crowd was instantly reeling.

Since they’re playing bigger theatres, Delta Spirit had a new light show aspect to their set as well, which made for some nice photo ops but which didn’t seem necessary at all, since they’re not a bells-and-whistles sort of band. They played some old and new tunes, “Ballad of Vitaly” and “Bushwick Blues” (yes, a soulful ode to living off the L) from History from Below, plus “Strange Vine”, “People C’mon,” and their hit, “Trashcan”, from I Think I’ve Found It. They went into “Trashcan” with a notable Pink Floyd cover, “Wish You Were Here”, that rallied the crowd into singing along. They closed with “People Turn Around,” and then finally with “Gimme Some Motivation.” When I last saw them in Austin, lead Matt Vasquez said that they hadn’t played “Motivation” in almost two years, but that they’d recently resurrected it. The Webster Hall version of it sounded totally new, and it reminded me of a line in “Strange Vine” that goes, “Songs that had lost their luster/ finally, they found their color.”–Eileen Murphy