Concert Review: Deltron 3030 at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto

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Deltron 3030 is a little-known but very successful hip-hop group comprising of Hieroglyphics emcee Del The Funkee Homosapien, producer Dan The Automator, and Canadian DJ Kid Koala (from left-to-right in the picture above).  In 2000 they released their self-titled debut album, which went platinum with very little promotion.  It was a concept album about the fictional characters Deltron Zero and Automator, and their adventures in the year 3030.  They were also featured on The Gorillaz debut album, the song “Clint Eastwood” being their biggest hit to date.  After that, they all went on their separate paths to do solo ventures or work with other groups, until they finally released a Deltron 3030 sequel titled Event II on October 1st of this year.

Deltron actually did the first live preview of the new album at the 2012 Luminato Festival in Toronto. I got to see them perform for free, but it ended up raining on everyone in the audience.  You can actually see me in the crowd in the above video at around 4:40, if you even know who I am.  As you can see, Deltron performs with a full string, brass and choir section of an orchestra, plus a drummer, guitarist and keyboardist to recreate Dan The Automator’s beats, along with DJ Kid Koala working with a set of three turntables rather than the traditional two.  Seeing this performance in the rain for free was awesome, but it was totally worth the ticket price to see them indoors at a venue that’s designed for concerts like this.

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First I gotta give a shoutout to the guys at the merch booth.  I asked the guy selling t-shirts if he had a small white one, and he was like “did my girlfriend tell you to say that?”; hilarious.  To start the show, DJ Kid Koala came out to do a solo set.  I had seen him at the Luminato Festival earlier this year (2013), where he did his Space Cadet show with “space pods”, headphones, and fragrances to give the audience a complete experience.  This set was much simpler though, with him just rocking out with vinyl on his set of three turntables.  He did do a familiar routine where he interacted a lot with the crowd, getting us to open and close our hands, duck down and jump up, which he described as his daughter’s favourite song of his (he didn’t wear his Koala suit though).  Then he brought out this female rapper from New York who was pretty cool, I don’t remember her name though.

Pretty soon the entire Deltron band was coming out for their set, except they didn’t have the full orchestra with them; it was a standard rock band.  They came out to some classics off of the first Deltron 3030 album including “3030”, “Things You Can Do”, and “Positive Contact” before diving into material off of the new album.  The lack of an orchestra didn’t make too much of a difference, it actually gave their songs more of a rock vibe since there were less instruments drowning out the guitars.  Another thing to note is Del’s vocal delivery is so smooth, he sounds almost the same live as he does on the albums.  His voice was clearer this time too, whereas at the 2012 Luminato Festival he was getting drowned out a bit by the orchestra.

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This set wasn’t particularly focused on one project more than the other, they pretty much performed half of each of their two albums.  Songs they did off the new album include “The Return” (see the video above), “Nobody Can”, “Melding of the Minds”, “The Agony”, “My Only Love”, “City Rising From The Ashes” (which they performed on David Letterman the previous night), and “Do You Remember” during their encore.  They also did a whole bunch of classics off of the first album, ending the set with “Memory Loss” before coming back out for an encore.

After giving us one hell of a show with classic songs as well as new jams, they officially ended the show with their biggest hit under a different name, “Clint Eastwood” (see the video below).  Afterwards, Dan The Automator stuck around to take pictures and sign autographs, which was pretty cool.  These guys are just starting their nation-wide tour; I highly recommend you check them out if they come to your city.  The music speaks for itself, but it sounds even better with live instruments and live Del.  Who knows if we’ll have to wait another 13 years for Deltron to work together again.

For more videos from concerts I’ve been to, check out the Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjiIhS7fd3t1ZutK1va7w8g

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