Kindred spirits: Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Funkadelic
Show: With Itch on Thursday at the Howard Theatre. Show starts at 9 p.m. 202-803-2899. www.thehowardtheatre.com. $25 in advance $30, at the door.
“Ten years had elapsed,” actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt intones at the beginning of “Deltron 3030: Event II,” since the last appearance of sci-fi hip-hop hero Deltron Zero. Actually, it has been longer. Producer Dan the Automator, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien and turntablist Kid Koala released “Deltron 3030” in 2000. That led to myriad other projects, including the first Gorillaz album, on which they helped Brit-popper Damon Albarn emulate their mix of rap, rock, dub and movie music.
The trio’s long-delayed followup is solid but not very futuristic. Nor is it in sync with contemporary hip-hop. Most of the full-blown songs recall the rap-rock sound of 1990s bands such as Rage Against the Machine (Zach de la Rocha turns up here to trade rhymes on “Melding of the Minds”). The style may not be that fresh, but it suits Del’s most pointed lyrics, which assail profiteering and exploitation.
“Event II” includes the usual complement of distracting comic interludes, the oddest of which features Momofuku restaurateur David Chang. But it’s hard to say who’s the most incongruous guest on an intergalactic trip-hop album with vocals by jazz-popster Jamie Cullam, art-metal yelper Mike Patton and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Plus, of course, Albarn, who warbles about the loneliness of the void in which Deltron 3030 drifted for so long.