Thursday, 28 August 2014

LIVE: Childish Gambino [2]

So obviously my Childish Gambino hype toward the start of the year was pretty high, but it's (slowly) died off as we've got further into 2014. That said, with his date at Brixton Academy on the agenda that did pick up a little. Somewhat unfortunately Lauren, my partner for the night's entertainment, had to pull out, which left me waiting in a Starbucks for an Irish fella off twitter until ten minutes before Bino was on - Although thankfully it meant I made back my £20, only quadruple what the touts were offering for my spare.

Inside the place was packed. Not surprising as the 5,000 capacity Academy was completely sold out. The normal between band entertainment was enhanced with the addition of a projector screen showing a special 'Deep Web' backdrop. This backdrop was effectively controlled by the crowd, one part essentially a white board that could be drew upon, and the other a stream of messages - both controlled from within the Deep Web App. This lead to some interesting things upon Brixton's back wall.

The lights go down, and the backdrop changes, evolving until eventually a room is pictured. Then the room erupts as Gambino strolls out to his piano on the middle of the stage. As he starts playing, he announces that this is the last Deep Web Show, and he wants to do something a bit special. The show that follows is so immersive that you almost completely forget your surroundings. Of course the focus is Gambino's concept album - Because the Internet - played in its entirety from start to finish, but the backdrop plays a key part also. It gives context to the songs in front of it, from shootings to sex.

When the band behind Childish suffer from a technical hitch the rapper's freestyle comes to the fore. As Don't Flop can attest to, being able to think on your feet is a wholly different skill to penning a bar. That said, Childish's other personality is an award winning writer so maybe it's not too surprising.

If the Deep Web section of the show is immersive, and interesting then the older tracks are just downright fun. Heartbeat, Firefly, and Freaks and Geeks are all met by euphoria. Not being a regular at hip hop gigs I can easily tell you that it's unlike anything I've experienced before; you just don't get it when watching Frightened Rabbit, or Biffy.

I'm hoping that next time Donald Glover appears on our shores it's for more than a single show, because if the golden rule of showbusiness is 'always leave them wanting more', then he's doing it perfectly.

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