CALI COMM 2002 featuring Del the Funky Homosapien, People Under the Stairs, Planet Asia, Skhoolyard and Lifesavas at the Opera House, November 2. Tickets: $24.50. Attendance: 600. Rating: NNN
Was it because the acoustics made the Opera House sound like the Skydome? Was it the the freezing weather? Why were people shouting into their cellphones, toking with friends and doing just about anything except paying attention to the performers onstage? Whatever the reason, the indifferent crowd assembled Saturday night for the Cali Comm 2002 Tour guaranteed that the night would definitely not be a high-energy affair.
Considering this was a tour composed primarily of California-based artists, the chill atmosphere should not have been such a surprise. It certainly suited the People Under the Stairs just fine. The L.A. duo of Double K and Thes One, known for jazzy beats combined with turntable feats, didn't deviate from their standard sound as they took turns behind the decks and microphone. The standout moment of their 45-minute set was San Francisco Knights, an ode to the Bay Area, that had many in the audience singing along to the hooky chorus.
Most of the crowd was there to see Del the Funky Homosapien, the Oaktown anti-star whose refusal to play the major-label game has made him an underground darling. Mainly performing material from his 2000 release, Both Sides Of The Brain, as well as from Deltron 3030, his collaboration with the Automator, Del was content to leave the call-and-response duties to his backup MC and rarely engaged with the audience.
When he did, the man who "wants to devise a virus" held court on a variety of topics ranging from the benefits of personal hygiene to industry phonies and, of course, video games. Del might be the only MC alive who sends shout-outs to Nintendo.
The night ended with everyone on the bill, including Planet Asia, Skhoolyard and Lifesavas, onstage. Meanwhile, the Funky one retired into the background, content to leave the spotlight to the others.