More than just a multifaceted musician, Robert DeLong is a born hype man.
Encompassing every instrument imaginable – keyboards, cymbals, drums, guitars – the stage at Toronto’s Velvet Underground was set for a five-piece band, minimum.
However, looks can be deceiving. Entering from the shrouded darkness, Robert DeLong strolled out casually, his hair a spikey peroxide blonde complimented by black suit and skinny tie. Following right behind, drummer Adam Phelps rounded out the onstage duo, leaving the arsenal of instruments at Mr. DeLong’s lone disposal.
Slowly the lights began to dim, triggering a cluster of vertical laser beams at centre stage with the commencement of Beginning of the End. Without a second thought, DeLong interrupted the pathway of the colourful streams with an elongated apparatus, prompting a different note to be played with each beam.
From there on, the show was one surprise after another. While presiding over the lively crowd and singing into a mic in one hand, DeLong kept the crowd pulsating with his complex array of electronic soundscapes and wild-eyed drumming.
In particular, songs such as Jealously and Don’t Wait Up truly allowed DeLong to display his chops. Lovingly showing off, he cranked joysticks, pushed percussion pads, and even wielded a Wii remote. As to what it sonically achieved was anyone’s guess.
Nevertheless, the charisma was undeniable from start to finish. Making his way everywhere on stage, DeLong’s fans packed the venue, singing along to his sugary choruses while being visually blasted by lasers and skittering screen montages. They certainly got their money’s worth.