Spokane’s favorite band churns out calisthenic, off-color funk 

I’ve got a good feeling about Spokane’s favorite band, Delbert. By and large, I’m sure the good feeling is about Gonzaga University too; most of the band attends that university, and I have bet on Gonzaga winning in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament in an online pool. Since Gonzaga squeaked by Louisville and St. John’s, this superstitious writer has nothing but good vibes for all things associated with the underdog school.

And Delbert, by all accounts, seems to specialize in good feelings. Their latest, Weird Faces, may well have made it into the men’s team’s rotation, and given how well the team has done maybe Delbert can take a bit of credit for the first-round victory.

Of course, this is neither here nor there, and for all I know Delbert could give a rat’s rear about sweaty jocks running the floor. I do know, however, that you will indeed sweat like, well, a student/athlete if you attend Delbert’s show. The band’s homemade acoustafunk will likely not leave you wanting for a calisthenic experience.

Drawing the name from a dead-end street in their burgeoning inland metropolis, Delbert (what the hell kind of name is that for a street?) is, unlike their dubious moniker, not a dead end but more like our notorious Malfunction Junction; the band is an almost absurd intersection of various musical avenues, colliding with abandon, regulated only by the band’s whimsy.

In fact, the band seems to embrace the ridiculous with as much fervor as they have obviously put into becoming a tight, highly polished band. Songs from their first release, All Dressed in Brown were, according to bassist Tyson Bickle, about “shiny happy things like sex.” But the band became known for their off-color songs (think brown) as much as their musical dexterity. Songs about donkey consumption like “Eat My Ass” proved to be a juvenile joke too funny for audiences to ignore.

Now on tour to promote their second album, Delbert brings the same level of humor but with a decidedly more mature sonic and lyrical aspect to town. The new record, Weird Faces is a better fit for the group, faithful to their die-hard, good-time humor, but somehow (ahem) deeper. “Paper Clip,” for example, tells the tale of a Cadillac Deville fender as it moves through the recycling process to eventually become a mere shadow of its former glory.

For Delbert, however unlikely it may be, the glory seems ever more evident. And if just like the boys playing ball for their school, Delbert knows that nothing is sweeter than a little success.

Delbert plays the Top Hat this Friday, March 24 at 10 p.m. Cover TBA.

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