DELTRON 3030 @ CERVANTES' MASTERPIECE BALLROOM | 9/16/12
The futuristic project known as Deltron 3030 and consisting of Del The Funky Homosapien, Dan "The Automator" Nakamura and DJ P-Love (sitting in for Kid Koala, who was apparently stuck in Canada) took over the stage at Cervantes last night just past midnight. Opening with "3030," the first track on the supergroup's only release, Del's statement that, "It's 3030, I want y'all to meet Deltron Zero, and Automator" probably could've been skipped: There was not one person in that place who can't recite the entire album.
It's been nearly fifteen years since the release of Deltron 3030, the group's only effort until recently, and it still carries the same weight it did when it was originally played. Granted, in those fifteen years a lot has changed, but this album is a staple in most hip-hop heads' collections. Each track is beautifully crafted and tells of life as it happens in the future. Interpreted, it's sort of an Orwellian prophecy on the future of hip-hop with claims that "in the year 3030 everybody wants to be a DJ" -- which, if you examine our pop culture, happened about 1,018 years early.
Del and Dan have still got it, and last night they delivered a perfectly blended set of tracks off their first album along with some of the new tracks on the forthcoming Deltron Event II. As the set progressed, Del did his Del-thing and remained motionless between some tracks, catching his breath in order to focus on the next effort. As the set grew amplified, the energy followed suit.
"Memory Loss," a monumental song with a glorious female vocal hook and a simple drum track (also live) preceded "Virus," which tells of Del's dreams to create something that poisons technology, sending people back to the Stone Age of creation. Essentially, Del does this every time he performs. In the ballroom, there was not one still body, and all eyes were on the funkiest MC to walk the planet.
Del's rapping is flawless. Granted, at times it had somewhat of a karaoke feel, but he admitted later that he was reading off a prompter. When you've been professionally rapping for two decades, things can get muddled, but even when he misstepped on a track, he caught up on the beat, and the improvisational feel gave some of the classic tracks a new feel.
For the grand finale, Del and Dan busted out Gorillaz throwback "Clint Eastwood" and gave everyone the crowd the chance to sing its hook. Whereas that was never in any way related to the Deltron 3030 album, his vocals on the track are genius and may have been the initial intro for many transitions from radio-ready Del to Deltron 3030.
Continue reading for stories from the rest of the night.
The rest of the night was buzzing with art and music, even from the beginning. The ReMINDers delivered an entertaining set with DJ Lazy Eyez providing some minimal scratching on the decks. The contrasting vocals of Big Samir's smooth raps and Aja Black's soulful and soothing voice creates the perfect mood. With positive lyrics and high energy, the ReMINDers have the recipe and the ingredients to absolutely blow up, and with their upcoming upcoming slot on the Brother Ali tour, it's an easy bet they'll be headlining their own spot this time next year.
In front of the venue, a massive trailer filled with art showed off some of Denver's finest work with pieces by the Signtologist and other local personalities. Painted skate decks lined the walls and were available inside for purchase. Inside, So-Gnar was selling its limited edition T-shirt with Del's mug on the front. When So-Gnar produces a gig, the company creates something to go along with it. It's innovative and a lot cooler than just another art/music/culture collective trying to hustle some gear. Owner Pat Milbery is always pushing the boundaries of what he believes in, and thankfully, he believes in being passionate about something and helping other people achieve the same result.
Paul Basic sat in the spot right before Deltron, but the packed venue wasn't really feeling it. It was actually a strange sight: Here's an A-list producer playing all his bangers, and everyone's just kind of swaying awkwardly. For the most part, everyone was there for Deltron, and though Basic's set was pleasant to the ear, the crowd remained unresponsive.
Air Dubai played a set on the Otherside, and, well, that band always pleases. With all its new material in the works, the hip-hop group played a great set. Some older tracks were given recognition, especially "Restless Youth," which showcases both vocalists' talents for rapping and singing.
Personal Bias: Deltron 3030 is and always will be in my top five albums of all time. If I were going to be deserted on an island for the rest of my life, as long as I had that album, shit would be fine.
Random Detail: Del was reading off a prompter and had no problem admitting this to everyone.
By the Way: Evol Burritos were giving out their product out front, and after consuming several of them, I can safely say they make a damn good burrito.
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