Walking up the graceful red velvet staircase of the Commodore Ballroom ignited my giddy mood. The high ceilings and swanky cocktail bars that adorn the venue always manage to make me feel like a much more important person than I am. But of course, I was just another concert dweller, anticipating the experience of witnessing a trio of masterminds do what they do best. On a Tuesday night, Deltron 3030 was about to take over Vancouver, and I wanted everything to do with it.
With a healthy portion of the audience crowded around the front of the stage, Kid Koala promptly came out and began mixing beats like he was born with shots of adrenaline in his fingertips. While Kid himself may be the long-standing turntablist for Deltron 3030, the Vancouver-born DJ and graphic novelist proved that he could fare just fine on his own. Head-bobbing, arm flailing, and looks of mysticism were rampant among the crowd. Oh yes, Kid knew what he was doing.
Wearing khaki shorts, a plain grey t-shirt and sneakers, Kid Koala encompassed the ideal of understated intelligence. There was nothing overbearing about his appearance; rather, his impeccable style lied wholly in his capacity to dominate the art of mixing eclectic music. The rhythms progressed with a complex ease as Kid seamlessly tossed records onto the turntable at lightning speed. The beats flowed like electric currents—never dying, only transforming.
Acting like the best friend you always wanted, Kid was a humble goofball who had a smile spread across his face for the duration of the show. He had an enigmatic energy to him that exuded into the spirit of the audience. He was all over the place, and I really mean it.
At one point, he hopped off the stage and led a conga line throughout the crowd. Later on, as I was shaking my head and dancing in a pseudo-trance to the music, I looked up and out of my haze of glee and there he was: Kid had jumped right in front of me and had formed a dance circle within a matter of seconds. We all crouched down and started participating in a whimsical dance routine at the helm of Kid’s prowess. Needless to say, his performance superseded all expectations.
Following Kid Koala’s solo set, Dan the Automator and Del the Funky Homosapien joined the turntablist onstage, along with an additional guitarist, bassist, and drummer to begin the Deltron 3030 act. Del emerged from backstage eagerly spitting beats and dressed like he was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s bad-ass older brother.
While each of the band members was distinctly in their element playing their instrument of choice, the volume of the sound itself was sub-par. We could barely hear Del over the overpowering sound of the drums and the audience was fully cognizant of this mishap, shouting “Turn up the mic!” in an attempt to improve the sound quality.
The climax of the show was definitely the encore. Things got weird. Prior to its start, Del sat alone onstage by the drums and started murmuring something inaudible into the mic. He looked like he was about to burst in a fit of ecstasy. Then, Kid Koala biked back onstage on a trick bike and started DJing with the turntables flipped up and towards the audience. Dan the Automator rapped with Del, all the while holding open a copy of Umberto Eco’s “How to Travel with Salmon & Other Essays.” I had no clue where to look.
The futuristic hip-hop supergroup ended the night with “Clint Eastwood,” a Gorillaz classic and an obvious fan favourite. The crowd chanted like crowds always chant at the end of the night. The collective energy of the band and the audience was unlike any other, a true marriage of spirit and fervor. I was once again reminded of why I love experiencing live music: a group of people releasing themselves to a common love in such an organic way is something that only a live show can foster. And foster it did.