Live Review: Robert DeLong, Pools Boys, 95 Royale

7 May 2014 | 4:50 pm | Benny Doyle

This set could have easily come across as kitsch in lesser hands. Robert DeLong, however, makes it feel essential and real. Let’s dance again soon.

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Attitude at the door is to be expected, but the empty room we arrive to isn't. Sure, Bobby D isn't on for another few hours, but still – where the fuck is everybody? It does, however, provide us with the opportunity to snag prize side-of-stage viewing for the headliner, but before that our drinking is soundtracked by venue regulars 95 Royale and Pool Boys. The former flies solo, the latter comes as a pair; both play an almost mirrored mix of future house/indie-disco/future house indie-disco: Disclosure, RÜFÜS, Bag Raiders, Chet Faker, etc. The tunes are solid; the mixes are hit and miss. By midnight the room's full of painted faces all but ready to “fucking dance”.

And does Robert DeLong make us do what. The guy is unrelenting onstage, moving across a length of instruments and gadgets fluidly, using the sprawling set-up to bring us a rave party of epic proportions. With his trademark orange iconography splashed around the stage, lights flickering manically and a backdrop screen seemingly plugged into a Commodore 64 motherboard, the one-man dance party has practically touched every item on stage – including a MIDI-hacked joystick and Wii controller, and a full drum kit – by the time he drops banger Religious Views. An untitled new song responds to mental calls for 'More cowbell!' before veering into Pendulum drum'n'bass territory with DeLong back behind the kit. He then throws down a cover of The Rolling Stones' Miss You, seamlessly taking the rock ideals of the track and reshaping it for the dancefloor. The bassline makes our toes vibrate.

Basically, I then sees the shaggy-haired 28-year-old – repping his Washington State roots in a Seattle T-shirt – getting his running man bounce on while simultaneously using two microphones for traditional vocals and additional effects. A snippet of Talking Heads' Once In A Lifetime is used as a quirky little intro into fan favourite Happy, DeLong getting out on the front speakers to really share the energy with the crowd, before a bit of guitar noodling transforms into another cover with Filter's Take A Picture sounding like a completely new song. Strobes are violently attacking our retinas when DeLong returns to the stool for a massive drum solo, the impressive stick work welcoming in Change (How You Feel). A sonic meltdown ensues, with DeLong practically looping us into submission, before he marks the night off with a massive exclamation point, hammering Global Concepts home with the same infectious energy he's been sending out all evening. This set could have easily come across as kitsch in lesser hands. Robert DeLong, however, makes it feel essential and real. Let's dance again soon.