We Miss You Already, Del Water Gap

Nathan Collins

Del Water Gap are a shining example of the resurgence of glittering indie-pop in the last decade. They are the solo project of Brooklyn singer-songwriter S. Holden Jaffe, who claims it has been his fight against his inner critic and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic that have led him to pursue a presence within the indie scene. Holden’s 2023  LP “I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet”, produced by Sammy Witte (known for his work with Maggie Rogers and Harry Styles) bears all of this artistic pursuit - as it traverses between a diary of therapeutic retrospect and odes to relationships longed for and lost, Holden’s creative gift lies in his ability to create an aesthetic landscape of reparation.

The Commodore Ballroom, with its combination of expansive floor space and bar tables running parallel along the edges, bears all the excitement of a huge stadium with none of the reverberated frenetic chaos - there is a stirring calm. The stage is set with props resembling what seems like a bedroom; surrounding the drum kit is a vintage 50s television, houseplants, a bed, and lit by lights which have been made to resemble jet engines. This feels like a fitting metaphor, for what makes Del Water Gap special is their ability to produce indie bedroom-pop that can take you anywhere.

The band emerges onto  the stage under dim blue lights, starting off with the opening number "NFU." Despite the gentle instrumental introduction of the track’s synths and acoustic guitar, the crowd eagerly jumps to their feet with phones frantically thrusting into the air to capture the beginning of Holden’s performance . As the set continues, amidst instrumental breaks, Holden runs around clashing with his bandmates, jokingly fighting for his place on the stage. The band, reminiscent of children on an elementary playground, are all driven solely by the energy of playing together.  

The band continues to cruise through their more recent material with rugged charm, notable highlights including the driven indie ballad "Better Than I Know Myself" and  dream-pop anthem "Doll House" before treating the loyal fans  to old favourites from before the pandemic. As the venue plays with the lights, blue and red hues fade into a violet spotlight where the band move through a trilogy of older treasures. We hear the soft rock inspired "Laid Down my Arms", to the strictly bedroom-pop of "Chastain", to the indie-rock-doo-wop of "Let’s Pretend", the crowd faithfully echoing every ‘Ooh-sha-la-la’.

The show comes to a strong finish with the concentrated funk of "Glitter & Honey" and sunshine-rock of "Coping on Unemployment". This, of course, only teases the inevitable return to the crowd’s open arms for an encore of the soft piano ballad "We Will Never Be Like Anyone Else", then topping the evening off with uplifting and romantic "Ode to a Conversation Caught in Your Throat" – a track which, ironically enough, eventually leaves the audience voiceless. After screaming one’s lungs out alongside an overwhelming echo of community, there is little else left to say.

Introductory Song Suggestions: Ode to a Conversation Caught in Your Throat, All We Ever Do Is Talk, High Tops, Beach House.

  • Posted on: 7 December 2023
  • By: Nathan Collins