Published Jan 01, 2006Best known to pop fans as the MC behind the Gorillaz and Deltron 3030 albums, the Bay Area's Del the Funky Homosapien took to the Commodore's stage with a backpack on, surely a nod to his long-time underground supporters. The rapper is a chronically laid-back sort, but on this particular night he seemed buoyed by the gridiron success of his hometown NFL team, the Oakland Raiders, who'd clinched a Super Bowl berth mere hours before the concert. With Hieroglyphics crew member Khaos Unique by his side, Del dipped and dove through his expansive oeuvre, balancing Deltron cuts like "Positive Contact" with older solo numbers like "Mistadobalina." It's a shame that Del chose to complete the main portion of his set with "Clint Eastwood," the ubiquitous, execrable single from the much-hyped Gorillaz project. Unsurprisingly, that song garnered the loudest reaction from the faithful, as they did their best to fill in Damon Albarn's snotty refrain. But for all of the audience's excitement, some of the heads seemed a tad conflicted, torn between their hero's perfunctory mainstream endeavours, and the understated beauty of his grittier solo material. The rapper's upcoming LP, 11th Hour, promises a return to days of yore, a hopeful sign for those of us who prefer Del without any cartoon accompaniment.