Friday, June 8, 2012

Childish Gambino @ The Pageant

Photo courtesy of Keegan DeJong
I wouldn't want to be the opener at a sold out Childish Gambino show, but somebody's got to do it. Chance the Rapper, a fairly unknown artist, came off as rather young and naive. He had a DJ on stage with him, but the tracks being played still had Chance's vocals on them. This turned the entire performance into a glorified sing-along. His flow was off and he was missing most of the words. Even when he got it right, it was too slurred to hardly be understood. He also does this weird thing where he goes "byahahahh" all the time. Like this (listen from 0:10 - 0:20). He didn't impress me at all.

Finally, Childish Gambino (AKA Donald Glover; AKA Troy Barnes from Community) took the stage. He had a full band with him: guitar, bass, drums, keys, and a laptop. They opened with "Outside" quickly followed by "Firefly," the first two tracks off Camp, his first official LP release. His flow was just as tight as the album, never missing a beat. He performed most of his hits, including material going all the way back to 2010's Culdesac mixtape.

The stage set up was very simple. There were a few trees on stage to set the camp atmosphere. The lights were few, but they were used well. The large screen behind him was used in several different ways depending on the song. It was used for still photos, graphics, lyrics, and video. All of the lyrics always matched up with the screen exactly.

The encore was really something. It included one of the very recent singles from his website ("some new shit," as he called it), two freestyles, and a currently unreleased song. The crowd was engaged the entire time. When he said "throw your hands up," no one even questioned it.

This concert only proved to me the truth in Gambino's music. His lyrics are often about overcoming adversity. Despite all of the troubles in his life, he has still managed to become a successful musician, actor, and comedian. Today, influential music sites like Pitchfork and Stereogum don't like him at all. Even with them working against him, he produced an incredible sold out show. To me, that is the real awesomeness of Childish Gambino and it's a message everyone can relate to.

No comments:

Post a Comment