It has been over two years since I saw Jessica Hernandez for the first time, opening for The Silent Years with a solo set in Ferndale back in 2010. The power of her voice struck me immediately, but I had no idea at the time of the work with her band The Deltas. Seeing her with them for the first time secured my loyalty as a fan and, as this blog will attest, I've trumpeted Jessica and The Deltas at every opportunity. It was simply a matter of time before talent this immense got noticed and it has culminated with a major label record deal with Blue Note Records.
So this show at the Magic Bag in Ferndale served as a bit of a celebration. Hernandez was a Metro Times cover girl during the week, with a big story on her rise in the music scene and the machinations behind the record contract. Any fears that the deal would change the unique sound of this band were alleviated for me in the article, and certainly once the show started. The night also served as the official release of Hernandez' new single, the gorgeous ballad "Young Dumb and Drunk" which was for sale on a limited 7" vinyl single at the show.
Opening the night were two local bands I've read a lot about, but had yet been able to catch. FAWN started things off with their brand of indie rock, very moody, reverb heavy stuff that I dug quite a lot. Their album Coastlines came out in June on Quite Scientific, well worth checking out. The HandGrenades were next with their retro rock sound by way of the British Invasion. Definitely a strong Brit-influence on their music and they were playing behind their March album The Morning After. As often happens in local shows, the two made it a trio of excellent Detroit area bands.
By the time Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas took the stage the Magic Bag was absolutely packed. She has already developed a loyal following in the area and they were all surely here along with friends and family of all the bands. But this felt as close to an EVENT as any local show I have been to, just a feeling that you are witnessing someone right on the verge of breaking out big nationally. Hernandez alternated between guitar, keyboards and just belting out lead vocals with that earth shaking voice of hers. The Deltas were augmented by a couple of horn players, with their own choreography worked out to boot, and it was a class performance from beginning to end. There is truly nothing else like this band in Detroit right now.
Although a few older tracks like "Neck Tattoo" and "Gone In Two Seconds" were played, the set focused on a lot of the material that will either make or is being considered for the debut album on Blue Note. Both songs from the 7" single being sold at the show, "Young Dumb And Drunk" and "Don't Take My Man To Idaho", also were featured. Hernandez' gratitude for the support was obvious and the crowd certainly showered her back with that love, especially during the encore. Just a really cool event to be a part of and yet another reason I get out as often as possible to support local music.