The lights dimmed as Danny Brown’s DJ took the stage, quietly setting up his deck in the faint hue of red-blue light. Everyone cheered loudly as he looked out and acknowledged the plethora of excited faces looking back at him. The crowd’s eyes were fixated on the sole human presence on stage as he played loop after tantalizing loop, teasing the crowd with the prospect of Brown coming out.
Finally, the rapper stormed the stage, his twisted hair askew and a goofy smile plastered widely across his face.
“Brown bless the mic like gesundheit,” Brown rapped. His signature, high-pitched sound blasted through the speakers of the Regency Ballroom last Tuesday, October 11. With his high-energy stage presence, he started immediately into “Die Like A Rockstar”, the second track on his critically-acclaimed 2011 mixtape XXX.
Clad in a Supreme shirt, printed with the bright yellow Morton-branded salt girl, and a black leather vest, Brown appeared like the new rockstar of this generation — a rockstar with his fair share of defining quirks. Despite his soft, emotional lyrics and persona, he engaged with the crowd without any detectable inhibitions, often reaching out to touch fans’ hands. His goofy, dopey smile — something rarely found on rapper’s faces in live performances — remained spread from ear to ear almost the whole night.
Throughout the show, Brown played a mix of his old and new tracks. He showcased songs off his new album Atrocity Exhibition (Warp, 2016) like “Really Doe”, alongside tracks like “25 Bucks (featuring. Purity Ring)” from his record Old (Fool’s Gold, 2013). The crowd, which featured people of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life, knew every word to his songs. A mosh pit formed in the very center of the audience, as girls and boys alike threw their bodies passionately to the music.
Despite his intimidating leather ensemble, Brown remained incredibly accessible to the rest of the audience. He continued to approach the crowd closely throughout his set, often propping a leg up on the speaker and catching the eye of an audience member to give him a personalized smile. By the time Brown performed “Adderall Admiral,” another offering from XXX, the crowd was going absolutely wild.
Brown’s lack of speech through his set mirrors his famously shy persona, but it doesn’t interfere in the slightest with his effortless ability to rally a crowd. He rapped long into the night, peppering his performance with his silly hair shaking, and occasionally sticking his tongue out in his more playful moments. The rapper’s high-energy, carefree concert turned the Regency Ballroom into a perfect space to receive his unique music — a place of movement, acceptance, and pure, unadulterated joy in the performance of his breakneck rap.