Deltron 3030 - Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale - April 3
According to Deltron 3030, the 31st century is a bleak place. Technology and corporations have run amok. But fortunately, we have rad music to look forward to. At least as evidenced by the rap supergroup's Thursday night show at Culture Room.
Del the Funky Homosapien emceed the story that's been told over two albums, a tale of Deltron Zero rebelling against a New World Order that suppresses human rights and hip-hop. Del was accompanied on stage by the producer Dan the Automator pushing beats, a tight live band of a drummer, bassist, and guitarist, and the breakaway star of the evening, turntablist Kid Koala.
Kid Koala opened with a solo set that would be a powerful revelation for all those who knock the Winter Music Conference and Ultra Music Festival because "watching a DJ is boring." One third stand-up comedian, another cheerleader, and another mad scientist, Kid Koala dominated the stage by mixing and scratching records, showing that the turntablist's art is entirely fascinating.
Walking in, wearing casual clothes, he apologized that they forgot his turntables at the start of the tour. "For the last thirteen cities, I've used 39 turntables. I feel like a slut. But I'm only going to be using vinyl." This drew applause. "Don't cheer. That's like a grandfather using a rotary phone."
He then proceeded to mix Beastie Boys and Outkast hooks with jazz beats and dialogue samples from 1950s monster movies. The big screen on the back of stage showed the wizardry of his hands moving between the three turntables. But the audience got a much closer look at Kid Koala as he jumped from the stage into the intimate crowd while his song from the children's show Yo Gabba Gabba! played.
This was a tough act to follow, but fortunately Kid Koala is part and parcel of the headliner Deltron 3030. His activity was a welcome contribution to the performance, but our eyes stayed mostly on Del. He walked out to the stage holding a skateboard as a prop. His sunglasses hid his eyes which would reveal whether or not he is actually a machine. Human beings can't possibly spout out so many consecutive multisyllabic words without taking a breath.
He was relentless in his diction and his movement, recounting the journey and struggle of Deltron Zero as images of the first President George Bush and other less favorable politicians flashed on the screen behind him. Those weren't the only visuals. We were also shown black and white images of Civil Right leaders, interstellar space travel, and dystopian graphics that appeared to be liberated from Playstation video games.
As the night wore on, Del opened up a little to the crowd. "You got big ass cockroaches, but I love y'all in Florida." The set seemed to have ended, the band left the stage, and the crowd went bezerk. After ten seconds of cheering Del came back to the microphone, "Let's get rid of all the niceties. Y'all want more songs?" Mad cheers. "Then everyone put $20 on the stage."
The band returned without any money changing hands. They played "Do You Remember" which features Jamie Cullum. Since Cullum is probably in Great Britain, a man stood on stage with a signed framed poster of Cullum from a 2006 tour obstructing his face. And then the night hit its zenith when they launched into the Gorillaz's song "Clint Eastwood" -- Del and Dan the Automator contributing mightily to it. The crowd outsang the samples of Damon Albarn's belting, "I'm useless, but not for long, the future is coming on."
"The future is coming on." Fitting last words for an act so devoted to a time that has not yet happened. And to continue the Nostradamus theme, while I wouldn't dare predict the future, I can say with near certainty that in December this will rank as one of the top South Florida hip-hop shows of the year.
"Things You Can Do"
"City Rising from the Ashes"
"Melding of the Minds"
"Do You Remember"