“Deltron is our hero, if he can’t do it nobody can”, sings the entire Showbox. On stage, Dan the Automator conducts the audience as Del the Funky Homosapien preps for the follow up. “With the wave of a hand and a flick of the wrist, word wizardry will certainly give you a glimpse”, re raps, smooth as ever. To the side, Kid Koala scratches yet another in a string of endless samples and tracks into the mix, keeping the energy going at breakneck speed. And behind the three of them is a wall of musicians – guitar, bass, drums, four or five choral voices, a four-piece horn section, and a string octet. The chorus of “Nobody Can” explodes like nothing else you’ve ever seen, and as the audience sings along to Del’s futuristic alter-ego, they believe it wholeheartedly. This year, the Deltron 3030 supergroup team-up stages a comeback thirteen years in the making, and in support of Event 2, they threw the wildest party we’ve seen in a while. Deltron Zero is welcome back in our house anytime.
Warming up the night with ease was a solo set from Kid Koala. As part of Deltron 3030, he supplies an important piece of the puzzle, tossing in countless layers of samples and manning the electronics. But by himself, Kid was free to amaze the crowd with his incredible skills. Starting by scratching an entire Louis Armstrong track and fading into a full wax collection of dance tunes both new and old, Kid won the hearts of pretty much every person in the house. No realm of dance music was off the table. From Sugar Hill Gang to TNGHT, everything was accounted for. The set’s two highlights came in very different forms. First, noting that his daughter wanted something to dance to, Kid Koala dropped the track that he’d made for the Yo Gabba Gabba live tour and successfully got almost everyone to do the goofy dance that went along with it. But dropping all semblance of whimsy towards the end of his set, Kid Koala played a rendition of “Moon River” dedicated to his mom. In this, all three turntables were set with the same track, all adjusted to created a perfect off-kilter balance of sound and shape that was truly unlike anything else I’ve seen. A true master of his craft, it was a blast to see Kid Koala get some one on one time with the audience before the real party got started.
Deltron 3030 is everything a supergroup is supposed to be. Just the sheer amount of professionalism on stage all at once is insane. There’s Dan rocking a full tux conducting no less than sixteen people all dressed in black across the back of the stage while dancing along to Del’s funkadelic, spacey genius up front. In the sea between, a full band plays the tightest set you’ve heard in months, while Kid Koala throws the sweetest accent on every single note. Every second of this set has been thought out from beginning to end. Del manned a stationary microphone for the whole set, but Dan didn’t let crowd participation slip through his fingers one bit. More than a couple times, he was conducting the audience as well as his orchestra. The night was ripe with classics both new and old. Despite the 13 years between albums, the new arrangements made the whole experience feel seamless. Opening with “3030”, “Positive Contact”, and “Things You Can Do”, the band warmed the crowd up with oldies before hitting new cuts “Stardate”, “The Return”, and plenty of others. Nobody noticed that the long list of collaborators seen on the new record was absent – the twenty-odd people on stage completely filled whatever void could have been there. Endlessly energetic and perfectly put together, Deltron killed it. So when they returned to the stage once more for a true encore and pulled out Del’s Gorrilaz collaboration track “Clint Eastwood”, it was more than anyone could ask for. Deltron 3030 entered our time zone for a night of pure intergalactic ecstasy, and we were glad we got to be there.
Event 2 is out now through Bulk Recordings, and it features Damon Albarn, Zach de la Rocha, the Lonely Island, Dirty Projectors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and more. Check back to KEXP later this week for our coverage of the second Delton 3030 Seattle date Wednesday night 11/20 at the Crocodile.