Robert DeLong Returns to NYC for a Mesmerizing Show at Bowery Ballroom

BY SARAH LA’BERGE

On Friday, November 2nd, American electronic musician Robert DeLong hit the stage at Bowery Ballroom in New York City. When fans entered the venue, it was clear they were eager to see what was to come.

 PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge

PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge

DeLong's last New York appearance was a set at Panorama Music and Arts Festival. During his festival set, DeLong teased some of the never before heard tracks from his newest EP, See You In The Future. At the Bowery Ballroom, DeLong gave New York the full taste of his new music. Touring for the first time with a full band instead of as his usual solo act, DeLong proved to deliver a performance built off of heightened innovation, talent, and passion.

All concert frequenters know the anticipatory feeling: the house lights go down, an introduction track bellows from the speakers and into your ear drums, and the artist you came to see seems to magically appear on stage. In this case, it was Robert DeLong, and not only did he appear on stage, but he appeared with a small, white paddle in his left hand. He moved the paddle amongst several vertical laser beams in front of him, and his movements coincided with the track playing that introduced him to the stage. The crowd was entranced, and seemed ready to dance as DeLong left the lasers seamlessly transitioning into his first track.

Hands were in the air, bodies were moving, and DeLong effortlessly settled into the energy in the venue. One of his most notable elements of artistry is exactly this: his bold stage presence. Even more notable, DeLong does so without overwhelming his audience.

Anyone observing the show would say it's apparent that performance and playing music is something that comes naturally to DeLong, as he easily transitions from instrument to instrument. In his third song of the night -- "Don't Wait Up" -- he gracefully moved from playing the electric guitar to mastering his unique electronic rig, back to flying solo on vocals, and finally wrapping up the song perched on a drum set in the back to sing the chorus: "I've got a restless mind."

DeLong was joined by his additional band members to play one of his biggest hits, "Global Concepts." He introduced the song with the iconic opening lines, "Did I make money? Was I proud? / Did I play my songs too loud? Did I leave my life to chance?" and the crowd proudly joined in for the bold chorus line, "Or did I make you f**king dance?"

He then showed off his pristine percussion abilities, where he simultaneously grooved with his additional drummer. Shortly after, DeLong played a strange recording that nearly silenced the crowd until he became encapsulated in a drum solo, showing the crowd just how talented he is when it comes to percussion.

For his performance of "Happy," DeLong lifted a GoPro-like stage camera that was directly connected to multiple screens, which were lined above his production setup. As the camera streamed the live footage on the screens, DeLong smiled big, seemingly taking in the view of all his fans. He concluded the experience with something unique to his performances: a game controller. This time, he used a Wii remote. He clicked a few buttons on the Wii remote, which directly altered the tonality and sound of his vocals, bringing the song to an end.

 PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge

PHOTO: Sarah La'Berge

Psychedelic visuals were a huge component in the vivacity of DeLong's show. For a song off his new EP, "Favorite Color Is Blue," DeLong moved a paddle and laser once more. This time, though, the lights cut and he screamed the chorus with his fans as a single vertical blue laser shone in front of DeLong and a few blue fluorescent lights stood behind him above each percussion rig.

For his encore performance, DeLong wasn't scared to slow the exhilarating show down a bit as he told the crowd: "We're gonna get sad together. It's an oldie, but a goodie." Electric guitar strums echoed around the Bowery Ballroom solemnly as DeLong projected deep, passionate vocals out into the sea of people who were all quiet and attentive for his final performance of the night.  After the song ended, DeLong announced that the night was not quite over and promised to meet every single fan at the merch table afterwards. This was a bold move for someone who nearly sold out an iconic venue in New York City.

Overall, Robert Delong's performance proved to be both entertaining and mesmerizing through his raw talent and unique stage production. In an interview with Setlist.fm, DeLong said, "I think what I want people to get out of the show is an experience that they can't forget, and that's kind of how I craft my set and try to craft my whole live experience."

Lead Image Credit: Sarah La'Berge