The stage: covered in orange taped X’s and florescent splatter paint. The audience: adorned with X arm bands and excited smiles. As the house lights went down and the black lights turned on, cheers of anticipation escaped from the crowd. Robert DeLong took the stage and started with a simple loop of him banging on a household pot, added his voice, and soon an intricate beat emerged.
Within three songs people were crowding towards the front to be one of the few dancers that could fit on the two small podiums in front of the stage, and the line for a free face painting stand that DeLong had set up occupied half the room. People were moving their bodies with pure joy, throwing about a giant painted balloon in the air, and there was an epic amount of cheering, hugging, crying and kissing. The scene echoed the cathartic nature of tribal secret society dances seen in Papua New Guinea and other areas of Melanesia.
Robert DeLong’s music is electronic based, created through loops, computer programs, and homemade instruments, but DeLong also plays percussion live on stage and sings, which alongside theatrical antics and audience enthusiasm makes his performance human in a way many electronic music sets simply aren’t. This humanity was even more evident during the encore when Robert pulled out an acoustic guitar and added some soulful strumming to his beats.