I can’t think of the last show I went to where face-painting was part of the experience. Actually, Robert DeLong’s headlining set at the Fonda Theatre on Saturday was the first time for sure.
LA’s killer multi-instrumentalist had at least 75% of the crowd donning some sort of face paint in support of DeLong, who always rocks the look when performing. I spoke with one of the girls at the show who was doing the face painting, she said DeLong recruits people to volunteer to do the job at his shows. But it’s just one of the many things that makes DeLong stand out as a live performer.
The crowd was amped by the time he took the stage a little after 10:30. Rocking with a lot of material from his recently released album In the Cards, DeLong proved why he’s one of the more interesting live performers going these days. The complete opposite of a DJ that pushes play – DeLong was bouncing around from his live looping station to a drum kit to singing and sometimes many of these things at once. DeLong utilizes a series of devices not built for live music performances – like what looked to be a Nintendo Wi controller for instance.
Crowd favorites “Long Way Down” and “Global Concepts” had the crowd throwing their arms in the air more than the rest, but the show maintained a level of excitement from beginning to end. People came to party and Robert DeLong brought the fire. There’s also a good chance if you look up the hashtag #whitepeopledancing, you’ll see plenty of footage from Saturday’s set.
A special treat came in the form of “Born to Break” as DeLong was joined on stage by MNDR, who sings the vocals on the studio recording off In the Cards. DeLong wasn’t done with the surprises – he performed a solo intimate “Isabel Song” with just a guitar near the end of the set, slowing the tempo down before turning it into overdrive for the final sendoff.
I can’t stress enough that Robert DeLong has to be seen live to be fully appreciated. I’ll never forget seeing him early in the day at Outside Lands 2012 – my first ever music festival. Catching his set when knowing absolutely nothing about him is partly what opened my eyes to how incredible the music discovery aspect of a festival can be, and I’ve been following the talented jack-of-all-trades ever since.