As the sun set on another cloudless autumn day in Lake Tahoe a small crowd gathered in the Crown Room inside the Crystal Bay Casino. Mingling amongst friends both old and new, a laid back vibe resonated between the weathered dance floor and the miraculous vaulted ceilings above. The setting was just right for a night with one of the nations most talented solo acts, Zach Deputy.
Taking the stage shortly after 10 p.m, Deputy established himself behind his electronical barricade of microphones, loop pedals and drum machines. Using nothing more than his acoustic guitar, a little technology and his relentlessly soulful voice, Deputy opened the show with one dance laced tune after the next. His music is self-described as “Island-infused drum n’ bass gospel ninja soul” and had everyone in attendance moving from the first note.
Deputy’s infectious smile constantly illustrated his love for performing and deep appreciation for the enthusiastic reception of the audience. Each and every song is built from the ground up. By looping his beat boxing, a few hi-hat hits in his drum machine, and some catchy guitar licks, Zach Deputy creates exceptionally organic music that is topped by his hearty and unmistakable voice. Crisscrossing genres, from funk to island dance to soul, Deputy kept the crowd moving across the dance floor with little worry.
In the midst of the madness I often found myself surprised to look back at the stage and be reminded that Zach was the only man on it. The amount of sound and good vibes coming from that small stage was staggering. Smiles spread from the back of the venue all the way to Deputy, who continued to drop one persistent groove after another.
In the middle of his two hour set, Deputy changed pace. Abandoning a more structured, song-by-song set list, he began to stretch his songs into impressive improvisation. Working through his numerous microphones and loop pedals, Deputy carried the crowd through various peaks and valleys of infectious dance grooves. Often times the music carried an almost psychedelic tone to it, something I had never heard from him. Closing with a string of moving improv Deputy left the stage with the audience shaking their smiling heads in disbelief.
Armed with nothing other than undeniable talent and a contagious love for music, Zach Deputy laid down one the most authentic displays of song and dance in recent memory. Providing the backdrop to one of the wildest dance parties I have seen in the Crown Room, Deputy possesses the ability to carry a party of any size well into the night. As his national tour continues into next year, Zach Deputy’s return to the Crystal Bay Club will be much anticipated.