Concert Review: Jessica Hernandez and The Deltas

Beauty Bar, June 22

It was this 3-year-old Detroit band’s first time in town, which may have contributed to the sparse attendance, with more than a few taking off after locals Trevor and the Joneses and Von Kin finished their sets. But those who stuck around or wandered in later were amply rewarded. Led by Hernandez, a tiny chick with some badass pipes, the six-piece ensemble opened to a small stage-side audience but by the end, most of the bar campers were up grooving and grinning to a raucous musical banquet.

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas aren’t stuffed easily into a genre-box. Channeling ragtime keys, Romani flash and grindhouse themes, their tight musicianship turns this potentially confusing stew into smartly textured compositions that reach out and pull you on the floor. “Sorry I Stole Your Man” begins with calliope keys and transitions with a ripping trombone slide into something akin to a ska/zydeco thump over which Hernandez teases out her backhanded apology. And I would swear “Caught Up” is channeling some gin joint ghosts or ’70s exploitation flick. Hernandez punches above her weight with vocal power and precision that, on tunes such as “No Place Left to Hide,” is both seductive and mesmerizing. ★★★★☆

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