We’re back! I know we’re really late with our first concert review of the new year, missing out on shows by Obie Trice, Onyx, and Classified, but I am just one person after all. New responsibilities came with the new year, and now hitting up these shows has become tougher for me.
This first show of the year would have a lot of firsts: my first time at a Hip-Hop Karaoke event at Revival Bar, and my first time seeing Del perform solo. I had previously seen him two other times performing with Deltron 3030, including when they rocked the Phoenix Concert Theatre in 2013. This would be a dope opportunity to see Del perform songs from his extensive solo discography, and also in a small, intimate venue.
While Del The Funky Homosapien was the headliner of the night, the main purpose of this party was to celebrate the 9th anniversary of Hip-Hop Karaoke Toronto, which has found a home at Revival Bar, holding its events on every third Friday of each month. It was my first time going to any of their events, and it seemed like it would be a fun time for hip hop heads regardless of them being able to book a famous headliner. Several fans took turns covering Hip-Hop classics of all eras, including hits by 2Pac, Kanye West, The Beastie Boys, Big L, KRS-One, EPMD, and Kendrick Lamar. Songs were pre-selected and studied from the Hip-Hop Karaoke website, and some performers had pages of lyrics on hand provided by the site to help them remember the lyrics (although the best ones didn’t need the lyric sheets).
The karaoke performers set the mood with good vibes and a diverse set of hip-hop flavors in their performances. Each of them did their thing, and they all received dollar store gift items along with drink tickets as they left the stage. Some standout performances included a Big L tribute to mark the anniversary of his death, and a near flawless cover of the difficult to perform “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, who recently made headlines at the Grammy Awards. After partying to some classics, Hieroglyphics’ DJ Domino set up his equipment and Del soon followed.
Domino introduced Del by praising his longevity, referencing his 1991 debut I Wish My Brother George Was Here, before getting into the fun “Ahonetwo, Ahonetwo” off of that album. They quickly took it to the year 3030 with a performance of “Virus,” and then did a segment with a couple Hieroglyphics songs. Del performed his verses from the Domino-produced “Powers That Be” and the classic “You Never Know”. The Funk Man rocked on, nailing all the lyrics to his verses.
Del proceeded to bring the energy with songs like “Dr. Bombay,” Deltron 3030’s “Positive Contact,” “Boo Boo Heads” and “If You Must.” He also did an off-the-top freestyle, showing that freestyling can be used to keep your MCing and writing skills sharp. Besides talking about how to keep your pen game strong, he also spoke on good beer, bigging up the sponsor of the night, Grolsch. In the tradition of this Hip-Hop Karaoke event, Del and Domino picked a fan from the crowd to come up on stage to perform the 1991 hit “Mistadobalina,” and he did a decent job remembering the lyrics. Del then approached the end of his set with another Deltron 3030 song, the wavy “Memory Loss.”
Unlike the previous times Del performed in Toronto with Deltron 3030, he decided to skip the whole teasing routine for an encore and just went right into one final song: Hieroglyphics’ “At The Helm.” After wrapping up his set, Del stuck around on stage and the party kept going as the DJ continued to spin some Hip-Hop classics. The host of the party handed out some posters that Del had signed, and fans got to walk up on stage and take pictures and/or get autographs with Del.
Overall, this was a fun show to start the year off. Del had been booked for a half-hour set but performed closer to a full hour, and it was cool to see his solo tracks and some Hiero songs get performed along with the usual Deltron 3030 hits. While his Deltron shows were more orchestral with his voice being another instrument on stage, the traditional MC-DJ approach brought more energy out of him, and he commanded the stage well. As a first timer at Hip-Hop Karaoke, the event was still fun even before Del got on stage, and it would be cool to check out again. Revival Bar provided a nice atmosphere for a small hip-hop show like this.
Del is about to go on tour in the U.S., be sure to catch him if he comes to your city!
Remember to check out the SYpherSights Youtube channel for more concert videos.