Danny Brown. Reviewers and bloggers a like have been talking about how he humiliated a writer during an interview, how he has been anxious and depressed since kicking the ‘lean’ and how he stormed out of the Guardian offices after taking a joke about a scotch egg the wrong way. I thought they were supposed to be music critics not lifestyle coaches. Anyway, I was there not to tell him how to live his life, I was there to be entertained, and entertained I was.
The up and coming Chicago rapper Vic Mensa served as the perfect warm-up act for Danny Brown. He kicked off the show with his freestyle over the high paced ‘When A Fire Starts To Burn’. It seemed appropriate since he’d just toured with Disclosure at the back end of 2013. Although, I predict big things for the hip-hop meets house combo, the Amsterdam crowd were unconvinced. Many a look of bewilderment I did see. Fortunately, for him and the crowd hip-hop saved the day as he performed one of his most renowned tracks ‘Orange Soda’.
He reminds me a bit of a childish Dave Chapelle, bringing energy and charisma to the stage. What he lacks in musical maturity he makes up with bucket loads of enthusiasm and hype. Everyone went wild for his ‘YNSP’. He got the crowd so buzzed after spraying water all over them that he even stage dived. I was more than impressed. I’ve never seen that successfully done at the Melkweg before.
So, after one of the best warm up sets I have seen, it was time for Danny Brown to steal the show. On stomps the artist to perform ‘Molly Ringwald’. No faffing around and this is how the set continued. It was a whole half an hour before he even addressed his fans and maybe that was just to have a breather as he downed a bottle of water. Like his song ‘Blunt after Blunt’ he riddled through song after song after song with ease and elocution. Known for his high-pitched personas, the Detroit based rapper smashed each lyric with perfection. His set list was eclectic mixing up the Old and the new from his latest album and XXX. Songs included the Prodigy meets grime track ‘Smokin & Drinkin’ and the Darq E Freaker produced ‘Blueberry’ before moving onto the trap drum, neon synth ‘Dip’. All of which were met with elated appraisal. However, shit went down for ‘Handstand’ reverbing the lyrics:
‘Pop that pussy on a hand stand’
‘Pop that pussy on a hand stand’
He even went acapella for the dirty chorus as the crowd clapped and cheered. Then it was time for the equally dirty but equally excellent ‘Monopoly’ that goes:
‘So guess who’s the little bitch? That’s you.
You must suck a lot of dick: That’s true’
After franchising on a flurry of moshing, Danny breaks to introduce himself.
‘Hi my name is Daniel’ as he hands a thirsty crowd member a bottle of water.
‘Make some motherfucking noise.
‘I just wanna smoke a blunt so if anyone in the crowd has some, roll that shit up and pass it to me!’
This turned out to be the perfect prelude before the classic, repetitive and addictive ‘Blunt After Blunt’. Finally, it started to smell like a Danny Brown concert. Taking the allusion one step further he said: ‘And if you smoke blunt after blunt after blunt you’re in a…Kush Coma’. In comes the bass and Danny Brown rocks the mic for the heavy and intoxicating ‘Kush Coma’. Once again, the playful Vic Mensa jumped on stage to throw water at the crowd and bounce around, high on life, high on the crowd, high on who knows what. It was the XXX favorite ‘Bruiser Brigade’ that really unified the crowd into full Danny Brown appreciation, putting the cherry on what was already a pretty tasty cake.
Having reviewed quite a few concerts now from Kendrick Lamar to Childish Gambino, MacMiller to Frank Ocean, I’ve picked up a critical eye for imperfection. So what was wrong with his performance? Not much to be honest, Danny just did Danny. I liked that he came on stage and just went through track after track after track. Some artists like to utilize the peaks and troughs of their set list, Danny by contrast kept it consistently high paced and action packed, not breaking the rhythm for too long; something that artists like Drake and J Cole tend over do. However, what slightly spoilt it for me was that he didn’t play some of the greats from his new album such as ‘Red 2 Go’ ‘Wonderbread’ and my personal favorite ‘Dubstep’ that features British grime artist Srufizzer. Another critique was that Danny’s regular producer and DJ, Skywalkr didn’t even mix, he just used his computer which at times was interrupted by the Skype pop-up sound. It didn’t effect the performance I just thought it was a bit of a cop-out. Ultimately, however, these minor blemishes did not degrade the spectacle. Vic Mensa impressed with the warm-up set and Danny Brown did the rest! Nuff said!