The band has been developing a set of handcrafted originals and off-the-beaten-path covers since its formation in 2007. The
quartet performed two similar sets at the aforementioned venues, but
demonstrated that oh-so-important band skill in adapting to the types
of patrons in attendance. Bull and Bear’s younger, party-hardy crowd
made for a more extrinsically exciting canvas for Two Hour Delay’s
experimentation, but the band had little trouble appealing to a midweek
after-dinnertime crowd at the Dino.
Tim Burns: Frontman of Two Hour Delay pours out his country soul during a recent Bull and Bear Pub gig.MATT MUMAU PHOTO
The putty that held the band together through both gigs was Bob Gaus,
Delay’s Telecaster-strapped lead guitarist. At the Dinosaur, Gaus
reached into a bag of stylistic tricks that borrowed from Jerry
Garcia’s tonal sprints, especially evident during a cover of “Turn On
Your Love Light,” written by Daedric Malone and Joseph Wade Scott in
the early 1960s but made famous during the Grateful Dead’s late 1960s
Gaus goes beyond jammy improv, however,
by borrowing from the pedal steel styles of contemporary country
musicians and more traditional bluegrass ax men. That special ability
shined in a rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues,” which the band drops
into a barely audible break section that climaxes back into Gaus’
skillful, slip-sliding riff work.
If Gaus provided the glue, the heart of the band came from the original vocals of frontman Tim Burns,
who plays acoustic guitar in addition to his lyrical duties. His “Left
Brain, Right Brain,” a two-step linguistic spin on the tale of
employed-by-day musicians, especially clicks in a chorus that leans
more toward Two Hour Delay’s country fixation, but mingles with a more
sophisticated harmony than that found in the average twanger.
Other self-made tunes performed during
both sets included “Seed” and “Hold Me Close My Love.” The tracks were
fermented by just-enough togetherness in the bass lines of Tom Mattern and the energetic, bordering-on-spasmodic kit work of drummer Brian Welch, the latter a major contributor to the band’s bittersweet vocal harmonies.
Didn’t-see-it-coming covers of The
Beatles’ “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” and Bob Marley’s “I
Shot the Sheriff” (made especially interesting with a funky, octaver
effect on Gaus’ solos) provided the proper amount of crowd-pleasing
obligations toward the Syracuse bar crowd. But rather than simply mark
time with radio staples, Two Hour Delay rearranges its cover tunes to
fit the character of its original motivations. The process of writing
original music and rearranging classic B-sides has resulted in a sonic
smelting process that has forged the band’s endearing, signature sound.
You’ll have several chances to check out the band as the winter makes warm, pub interiors feel a bit cozier. Check them out at Stonecutters at Belhurst Castle, Route 145, Geneva, on Saturday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.; the Syracuse University Sheraton, 801 University Ave., on Friday, Dec. 12, 5 p.m.; a Bull and Bear show on Saturday, Dec. 13, 10 p.m.; and Shifty’s,
1401 Burnet Ave., on Friday, Dec. 19, 9 p.m. Visit the band’s
Myspace.com page, www.myspace.com/2hrdelay, for more information, or
check the Syracuse New Times’ Club Date listings for future gigs.