There are artists that create masterpieces once or twice in a lifetime, and there are artists who continually produce smash albums with no end in sight. Del The Funky Homosapien is the latter, and with Amp Live he solidified their latest release as part of this discography of triumph. Gate 13, which came out just two weeks ago, has risen far beyond what could have been expected from an abruptly announced release right before summer — expectations that the live show went on to further transcend.
Speaking with Del, he too has been taken aback by the fond reception of the release. “I didn’t think about it to tell you the truth,” he said smiling. “It surprised me. I’m here now, I’m surprised now. It generated itself, basically.” Del and Amp Live have spoken extensively on the fruition of their union, and what it comes down to is simply a couple of music nerds fusing passion and art to make one song, then three, then — before they knew — an entire album.
“With this album, we talked about the vibe we wanted from the start, Del was saying that he wanted something simpler, and straightforward and more upbeat,” Amp explained. “The beats I gave him for the initial songs are a lot different. Then, he sent me his verses, and I knew I wanted something that would be a combination of both worlds.”
The duo took on Cervantes’ Friday night as one of six stops on their record release party tour. Denver and Fort Collins have ended up as the only shows on this tour not in California, which was no shock to Del and Amp. “I love Colorado,” stressed Amp. “I have a song about Colorado on my last album, Headphone Concerto.” Del expanded, “They like us out here. They make the decisions on how often I should be out here, they call for us.”
The evening started out with some local acts, including an ever energetic set from Kruza Kid followed by Proximity, who gifted a generously hyped set. The final headliner, Sol, swooped in from Seattle to get the party vibes flowing before the main acts hit the stage. During a set like Sol’s, it is hard not to feel charmed. The ease of which his lucid flow poured out over acutely impressive beats only slightly upstaged his good looks and boyish stage presence. Tracks like “If You Don’t Call” and “Freedom’s Song” had audience members humming along into the set break after he had left the stage.
Halfway through the eleventh hour of the night, Amp Live readied his extensive array of instruments and got the crowd pumped up for the coming emcee. Once he entered the room, the two jumped right into Gate 13 tracks, including the funkified, old-school-vibed songs like “Gravy Train” and “Sit Ya Ass Down.” The bumping beat behind “Sit Ya Ass Down” makes it impossible to keep your body still, which was proven as the entire venue moved up and down on the marks.
“I don’t really think about them as old school tracks. I just try to stick to the foundation and add on that. Without the foundation it falls apart.” Del had clarified before the show regarding where his lyrics get their throwback energy. “My motivation is behind the foundation.”
Sol then joined the party for “Far Beyond,” and Amp Live busted out impeccable beats in a neon shirt. Amp took to the mic to encourage fans to buy their album if they hadn’t yet, which Del was quick to counter with, “I mean, check it out if you want to man. Don’t think we’re pushing it on you.”
After Sol left, the night took a turn to older jams like the Hieroglyphics track “At the Helm” and Del’s hygienically inclined number “If You Must.” After a few more Gate 13 songs, Amp Live took the center for a solo session of his own. Once he finished, it was back to the album to round out the set for “Help” and “Humble Pie” — the unique story of a piglet named Puny. They returned to older tracks like “Mista Dobalina” to finish off the night.
When it comes down to it, this album serves as a career highlight in both musicians catalogs, and Denver was lucky to be part of the initial live showing. The duo will be embarking on a full tour this fall, and by then, either one is sure to have multiple other projects out. “Just keep your eyes open for whenever we come out,” Del encouraged. “Either together or separately. We always come with something interesting.”