Deltron 3030 made a stop in Pittsburgh last night for a performance at the Altar Bar in the Strip District. The hip hop super-group’s self titled debut album features some of my favorite production of all time. Deltron consists of rapper/MC Del The Funky Homosapien, producer Dan The Automator, and DJ/turntablist Kid Koala.
Local hip hop trio Fortified PhonetX opened and did a nice job loosening up the growing crowd just in time for a Kid Koala DJ set. Koala used 3 turntables to spin vinyl with no headphones. His set included takes on Beastie Boys’ “So What’cha Want”, a Yo Gabba Gabba kid’s themed jam, and a tripped-out yet stunningly beautiful take on “Moon River” which was dedicated to his mother and all women over 50.
By time the stage was set for Deltron, the house was absolutely PACKED. Since I had never been to Altar Bar, I took a quick walk around to explore the venue at the set break and it seemed like every square inch was full of people waiting intently for the headliner to grace the stage. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a show that was this crowded, but it felt good, I was glad Pittsburgh came out for this show!
Accompanied by a backing band of guitar, bass, and drums, Del, Automator and Koala started things off with the obvious and perfect opener, “3030” from their debut LP. “3030” is my favorite Deltron 3030 song and I definitely expected it to be the opener and was super excited that it was. They proceeded to deliver a high energy set that more closely resembled a rock show than a typical hip hop performance. Some personal highlights included “Positive Contact” and “Virus”, both from their debut as well as some songs from their second LP that I am still not familiar with.
The song choice for the encore made it obvious to me why this show was so heavily attended by such a diverse group of people. After hearing the first few notes of the Gorillaz tune “Clint Eastwood” the crowd exploded. Having never gotten into the hugely popular Gorillaz, I hadn’t made the association between Deltron and Gorillaz until that moment, but both Del and Dan the Automator were involved with that group as well.
The only downside to this show was the sound. I’d never been to Altar Bar before last night, but I’m pretty sure that the room just sounds bad. Like other venues that were once churches (i.e. Mr. Smalls in Millvale), the place is just not built for this kind of event and therefore the sound is often really muddy, distorted, and bass heavy, as was the case last night. The poor audio on the video clip above is only a slight exaggeration of the actual sound from the show. But this was not totally unexpected, so I was able to look past it and enjoy a rare live performance by a killer group that I’d never expected to see live.