Del the Funky Homo Sapien headlined Friday night at the Garage, but the evening's tone was set before he even took the stage. Ugly Duckling, the opening act, started things off with an uninspired performance that leaned a little too hard on Run-DMC. The group had some nice tracks but relied on dated call-and-response techniques and retro B-boy poses to distinguish itself.
When Bay Area rapper Casual took the stage the crowd had been worked into a bore, and he did little to change this, running passively through a collection of cuts from his 1994 solo release "Fear Itself," a cult classic that marries a hyperactive rap style with bass-heavy and drum-happy tracks. But as he lumbered through cuts like "That's How It Is" and "I Didn't Mean To," Casual sounded drained and overpowered by his own beats.
By the time Del decided to make an appearance, there was noticeable grumbling in the crowd. He was slightly better than Casual but also seemed to be struggling for inspiration--something that performers often look to the crowd for. But most of the audience was probably in middle school when Del released his first album. There was little call-and-response between the crowd and him, and only an inkling of chemistry.
Del meandered through such cuts as "No Need for Alarm" and "Catch a Bad One." At the end of his set, he simply wandered off the stage, looking relieved that the ordeal was over.