A Review: Zach Deputy (Greenville, South carolina)
I had a good feeling about things when I received a surprising phone call after work from the one and only J-Man a few hours before the show. Checking If I still was interested in doing the review for the Deputy show and explained that he still needed to call Zach Deputy about putting me on the guest-list and assured that He would call back in as soon as He could and let me know. Now let me just say how thankful I am to be able to post reviews on this blog but I was shocked and incredibly grateful when I received a call from Justin not even five minutes later confirming it all was good and I was guest listed. That reassured Me that this really is a wonderful & small community filled with good people.
Soon enough show time was near, packed up my show bag with my recording gear and headed out the door. Luckily Breanne was our DD for this show which is a very rare thing for Me. I arrived at The Handle-Bar around 9:00 and went to the door to check in to see what was up, I was informed Zach had not brought his guest list to the front door yet. Not a problem, Myself & My good friend Fosto grabbed a stool, a beer, and relaxed before show time. Soon enough in the corner of my eye I saw Zach Deputy; my friend's who had never seen him described him as a giant teddy bear. I walked over and introduced myself for the first time. He told Me I was for sure guest-listed and I couldn't stop thanking him and how grateful I really was. I ask permission to record the show and He told me He had no problem with recording and to feel free to always record. I assured him that I was and thanked him again and headed inside. First thing I noticed was He now offers Instant Live Recordings of the show on USB drives 20 minutes after the shows for only $5. Unfortunately on this night there recording/sound guy was not present so it was a good thing I decided to record it, but glad to see that He is now offering this concept at his shows.
The opening band was known as "Wisebird" and they kicked it off right at 9:00. They were a mix of roadhouse blues with a splash of soul and a strong southern rock feel. Apparently they've been touring with Zach for some time on this tour and in that time Zach & Wisebirds wrote a song together. Sure enough Zach came out & played lead and sang on the very soulful ballad. The next few songs started to really pick up, a few good stand-out guitar solos that really turned up the heat for a few minutes. The key player was the member who stood out to Me the most. He played a classic piano and also some form of organ, that He was showing no mercy on all night. They played a pretty standard 40 minute set and it ended. Overall I really did enjoy them as an opening act, I'd probably check them out again at a festival or a local venue. Unfortunately Wisebird did not have much of a crowd but the audience they did have gave them the proper praise they deserved.
Zach Deputy didn't hit the stage until a little before 10 o'clock. House lights finally went down and He started off with a slower but soulful acoustic tune that reminded me of the melody from "Over the Rainbow". A very soothing way to start off the show. Deputy's soulful beats combine with his subtle raw voice mix to complete a tropically bumpin' sound. Next up was a very catchy loop scheme that started off with a straight forward dance groove on the acoustic, backed up by the first of many vocal loops of the night. Some songs were like an acoustic roller coaster that turned into a Caribbean influenced beat with a soulful melody. Deputy would turn up the distortion or even some flange on some songs and rip a solo for two or more minutes. He left the crowd on the edge of their seats, (or should I say toes) by stopping a beat and waiting for the perfect moment to break it down and bring that "funk to the funky house." By a click of a button he can produce any different guitar or bass sounds which he incorporates into his beats and loops.
Deputy not only told the crowd that he was happy to be back in his home state, but he showed it to the audience by playing for more than two hours. Select few fans came early and danced beginning to end of Deputy's set. The crowd was very diverse. Everything from cowboy hats to heels showed up to show him love by grooving throughout the show and adding to their list of Deputy shows. There's an evident twang that's common with Carolinian musicians. The heavy nitty gritty guitar was a factor in this but it did not overthrow the tropical-esque sound. Deputy ended the set with "Home" due to the constant crowd request which could have been a tribute to his homecoming. His three song encore was a definite treat for the crowd. It consisted of a laid back acoustic ballad and one more straight up Deputy style dance groove that featured heavy bass. This jam featured more of a reggae influenced melody with the signature line "sunshine is on my mind." As the song winded down Deputy segued into a Marley classic "Redemption Song." As soon as the first verse began the crowd started to sing a long word by word. The perfect song to end the show in my opinion. Also the perfect show to kick off the spring season which for some means festival season is right around the corner. I was impressed with the overall mechanics and technical capabilities that made the set flow together so smoothly and fluid. I would recommend Zach Deputy to anyone that enjoys solid down home jams. Deputy's ever present soulful vibe made me leave the show pleased and impressed. I will be looking forward to seeing Deputy again at Summer Camp in May.
"Zach Deputy w/ Wisebird"
Download the show.
Written by: Scott Shrader (Snucka) & Breanne Smith
Photography/Videos & Live Recording by: Scott Shrader