Anyone who’d never seen Del tha Funkee Homosapien perform live before his Thursday night show at Velvet Jones might have been a little confused; Del almost never plays a song live the way he records it, and the way he remixes can be confusing to the untrained ear. He launches into freestyles with no ado; he raps Deltron 3030 songs over Hieroglyphics beats; he raps his songs over Deltron 3030 beats. So, at the risk of sounding cliche, the only thing that can be expected at a Del show is the unexpected.
Del and A-Plus (from Souls of Mischief) single-filed onto Velvet Jones’s stage around midnight on Thursday before an equally enthusiastic and eclectic sold-out crowd, rapping through 14 songs that spanned the majority of Del’s hearty career. Not surprisingly, the first song of the night came from Deltron 3030. The track, called “Virus,” was laid over a remixed beat before dropping straight into the recognizable cello tones of Del’s “Catch a Bad One.” “Phoney Phranchise,” a track off Del’s 2000 release, Both Sides of the Brain was voiced over a Deltron beat, throwing younger viewers for a loop while demonstrating Del’s own thirst for creativity. Del newcomers and dedicated followers appeared equally impressed to witness him dip in and out of freestyles, as well as include his first hits, “Dr. Bombay,” and “Mistadobalina,” into his set.
Del and A+ left the stage after 1 a.m. and were quite literally demanded back by their audience. They obliged, returning to perform “Clint Eastwood,” the first hit off the Gorrilaz‘ breakthrough self-titled album, and were received with an almost electrified appreciation. At the end of the night, after commending the crowd’s energy and encouraging everyone to obtain (by whatever means) the newest album from Del and the Hiero Crew, the rapper waved goodbye to his assembly. “If ya’ll is feelin’ cool like I’m feelin, then I did my job,” Del remarked as he exited the stage, leaving behind what will become one of Velvet Jones’s more legendary shows to date.