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What You Missed: Del Water Gap at Majestic

Even before Del Water Gap sings, "Man I'm so exhausted," his deep set eyes and dark eyelashes give him away, adopting the crimson from the warm lights behind him, making it look like he's had a fresh cry. It's probably not intentional, but it's an easy assumption to make when his songwriting revolves around the pitfalls of love.

S. Holden Jaffe, otherwise known as indie pop artist, Del Water Gap, tells us that he quit music in 2020 to become an accountant. The audience boos at this confession, but he insists on accountants' importance, and continues, "I got a second chance at having a music career. ...One of the most surprisingly amazing shows was here at High Noon. It was such a beautiful welcome....I was looking forward to coming back." And much like his High Noon Saloon show last year, he's sold out tonight's show with two-hundred more people.

I'd imagine Jaffe having a hard time as an accountant since he seems like an artist always brimming with emotion and heart. It feels like at any moment, he could spill over. But the music industry isn't always about having heart, which he reflects on in songs like, "Coping on Unemployment" and "Quilt of Steam."

When he's on stage, the numbers melt away and we're focused in on Jaffe's intense energy. Even in bouncier tracks like, "NFU," Del Water Gap sinks into the lyrics and lets them overtake him. As he sings the breakdown, he falls to his knees. Tonight, he mostly plays from his newest album, I Miss You Already + I Haven't Left Yet, and it feels like every wound is still fresh. His music is full of heartbreak and lust but not in a way that feels overplayed; each song is tinged with melancholy, desperation or longing; even the happier songs hint at something darker lying underneath.

His opener, Kristiane, contemplates similar feelings, questioning, "Are you better on your own?" Her airy alto voice glides next to her bassist and backing tracks. She reveals her dark pop roots when she takes on Lana Del Rey's "Video Games," admitting that it's one of her favorite pieces of songwriting.

Del Water Gap is a little shy when talking to the audience, but he's not one to back down to a challenge of playing rock, paper, scissors with someone in the front row. The fan brought a sign saying that if they won, he'd have to play "Don't Say Nothing." After three intense rounds, the fan loses. But since everyone's hopes were up, he decides to play the song anyways.

There are moments when we crawl out of the dark indie pop genre and find something more glittery and lovestruck. Jaffe dips into his previous album to give us, "Sorry I Am," where he can't help but compliment the subject, even though he's not ready to talk to them directly. "Glitter and Honey" and "Perfume" take on more sultry tones, and suddenly the room is red hot compared to the thirty degrees outside.

The crowd has a sort of reverence for Jaffe, and they stay mostly hushed for the show, never wanting to sing over him. But for the finale, "Ode to a Conversation Stuck in Your Throat," the crowd can't help but yell out, "Tell me that nobody else touches you like I do" while Jaffe hops into the pit. It feels like we're listening in on a phone call between Jaffe and a lover, sweating and flushing over the intimacy in a room of six hundred.

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