Phoenix is so lucky to be blessed with a Robert DeLong appearance at least once a year, a fully immersive indie rave orchestrated with video game controllers and interactive lights. It’s a lot for a Monday night, but fans laced up their dancing shoes and and filled the Crescent Ballroom anyway.
Early in the night, Los Angeles-based Gothic Tropic brought their brand of guitar driven indie pop—and relatability—to the stage. The project is the brainchild of Cecilia Della Peruti and brought to life on tour with bassist Vicky Warwick and drummer Sheldon Reed, and this year marks a return to releasing music after 2017’s debut album Fast or Feast.
Peruti falls somewhere between Pat Benatar and Charli XCX, an artist with the sixth sense of what makes an earworm but is also cooler than everyone in the room. Although, she would probably argue with the latter. Throughout the set, she joked about how she was struggling because she was so sick, so the crowd cheered extra loud in support, encouraging her to continue.
Peruti exuded warmth and gratitude between songs and expressed excitement to be on the tour with her longtime friend—and equal excitement to go home. “It’s the sweet release of being done with tour,” she said and then cracked, “The sweet release of death. Sorry! This is what happens when you have A.D.D.”
By the end of the set, the crowd felt like they had made a new friend in Cecilia Della Peruti, who is already looking forward to returning to Phoenix and instructed everyone to keep an eye out for what’s to come.
The stage then came into focus in the house lights: a standing drum set, a keyboard, multiple video game controllers, GoPro camera strapped to equipment, a sitting drum set, a large screen on the backdrop, and screens lining the front of the keyboard. It’s Robert DeLong’s first tour with a live band, and it looked like there wouldn’t be room for everything. But sure enough, drummer Adam Phelps took a seat, Vicky Warwick returned to the stage to play bass, and the rest was free for DeLong to roam.
Robert DeLong bounced between his controller-rigged keyboard setup and the standing drums depending on the focal point for songs like “Long Way Down,” “Acid Rain,” “Revolutionary,” and other originals and remixes. When the clock struck ten, DeLong went into full DJ mode with a mashup that included but was not limited to: “Gangnam Style”, Bad Guy”, “Sail”, “High Hopes”, “And Then I Got High” and Sir Sly’s “&Run”. Video clips ranging from kaleidoscope patterns to old school sitcoms played on the screens, and everyone was dizzy in a good way.
But that wasn’t the end of his tricks. A stream of blue lasers shot out from the front of the stage, each corresponding with a note that DeLong could “play” by tapping into it. It’s one of the cooler things that’s been done at Crescent and fit perfectly with the other remotes he used to control the show. K.Flay even made a video appearance for “Favorite Color is Blue”, a collaboration from last year’s See You in the Future EP, for which the tour is named.
DeLong pulled out all the stops, but more impressively, that’s the norm. On stage, he’s a performer through and through and is always looking to flex his creative muscles with new elements in music and as a live act. That’s what makes the sentiment “see you in the future” so exciting—there’s more from Robert DeLong on the way, and whatever it is, it’ll be a showstopper.
Story and photos by Taylor Gilliam