The night of February 26th, 2019 fell on a Tuesday, but that hardly mattered to alternative-EDM fans of the DJ genius Robert DeLong. San Diego's Music Box was almost filled up by the time direct support MORGXN ended on his alt anthem "Home", exiting his dimly lit stage to uproarious applause. MORGXN took attendees on a personal journey, commenting on how he wrote one of the songs he performed during his father's passing. Heartfelt and passion-fueled, concertgoers reveled in the truth MORGXN exuded throughout his performance.
As intermission flooded the bar stools and the outside sidewalks with drink buyers and cigarette smokers, attendees waited for the musical mastermind we know as Robert DeLong to enter the evening. Sound techs tested several curious machines, making sure that whatever DeLong is about to be up to is up to par. A thumbs up was flashed to the soundboard from one of DeLong's backstage entourage, leading the lights to fall to darkness. Out from behind the curtain came Robert DeLong, dressed in a suit and holding peace signs high in the air to the soundtrack of a cheering audience. The show has begun. Beams of light zapped from floor to ceiling onstage; Delong, grabbing sunglasses and what looked like two metal blocks, started playing the them. That's right. Robert DeLong turns light beams into melodious sound. For he is a GENIUS.
Robert DeLong turns light beams into melodious sound. For he is a GENIUS.
He doesn't stop there, either. DeLong configured musical devices out of Nintendo 64 controllers, Wii controllers and joysticks. A gamer meets music dream, DeLong further bounced between a drum set, a guitar and a keyboard adjacent to his master control platform... one equipped with four televisions, flashing psychedelic images curving and wrapping around each other endlessly. The whole ensemble was an acid trip. At one point, DeLong fired up a video version of K. Flay to accompany him on their popular duet, "My Favorite Color Is Blue". K. Flay's haunting demeanor broadcasted across all the screens was a chilling experience, to say the very least. Another highlight was when Robert DeLong called MORGXN back out onstage, who came bearing shots of liquor for the entire band before the two launched into a passionate (and somewhat sexual) collaboration.
The show was so spectacular that, of course, it was over way too soon. Following demands of "10 MORE SONGS!!" from the crowd, DeLong reappeared to encore with his own EDM version of White Town's 90s hit "My Woman" and a few more before calling it quits. The guy did happen to track a good 15 minutes' worth of drum solos between songs! Pouring sweat, Robert DeLong announced that he will be ready to take pictures with fans and sign autographs at the merch booth once he successfully "toweled off". How brave to meet-and-greet an entire venue full of people riled up like that... Waiting to leave, his manager mentioned DeLong once stayed over two and a half hours after his set to make sure he met every one of his adoring fans. Extremely gifted, yet so humble. What a valuable and underrated asset to the music world.
Photography by Kristy Rose