Saturday, November 12, I attended a Childish Gambino concert. For those of you who don’t know who C.G. is, you may have seen Donald Glover on NBC’s Community as Troy Barnes or you may have seen his 30 minute stand up special on Comedy Central. He has also written episodes of 30 Rock.
I’ve been a Childish Gambino fan since one of his tracks, “Not Going Back,” from his untitled EP, came on my iPod Shuffle. Let me just say, he’s one of the most creative, edgy, witty, and smart rappers of today.
I was a bit skeptical going to the concert at first. I’ve never attended a rap concert before, and I wasn’t sure how the crowd would be. The show was at Club Nokia, in LA, right across from the Staples Center. And as Gambino says in one of his raps, the crowd was more mixed than Rashida Jones. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. There was just so many people, all shapes and sizes. It was pleasant to see how many C.G. fans there were. If anyone deserves to blow up big, it’s him.
There were thousands of people at the concert. During his show, C.G. announced that he had sold out the entire theater. According to Club Nokia’s website, it can hold over 2,000 people.
To open for Gambino, was DJ SoSuperSam, a friend of Donald Glover’s, who toured with him for his “Sign Up,” tour. SoSuperSam was extremely good. She really knows how to cater to her audience. I listened to a few of her mixes before the show, to see what she was about, and let me say that it was totally different from what she played with last Saturday.
She played a mix of some great Rap, Pop, Electro, and Indie music. A little something fore everyone in Gambino’s Mixed crowd. She was really able to get the crowd hyped for C.G. by playing everything from Drake and Kanye to Flynt Flossy and Phoenix. By the end of SoSuperSam’s one hour set, everyone was ready to see the man himself, C.G.
After a 15 minute intermission, the lights dimmed, and all you could hear was fan screaming. People stepped out on the balcony, and started cheering. The whole atmosphere of the club had changed. And then it started, lights flashing, bass pounding, and Gambino entered to “Hero,” one of the songs from his first EP, “Culdesac.
From there it was non stop energy, dancing, sweat, fun, screaming. Gambino brings with him an energy to the stage that you just can’t get anywhere else. He is fun, active, passionate, loving. When he raps on stage, you get something you can’t see from any of the other rappers today. It’s pure ferocity. Animal like almost. The way his eyes open wide as he says a certain line, the way he signs and raps so interchangeably with ease, the way he doesn’t miss a line in a single one of his songs.
For those of you who don’t know, Gambino just released his first feature length album, “Camp.” For a week prior to the show, he had streamed the album on NPR. At this specific show, he played a multitude of different songs from all his releases, including a very large amount from “Camp.” What really amazed me and impressed me about the concert, is how many people already knew almost every word from the upcoming release.
Hundreds of people were just singing along as if the album had been out for months. And whenever Gambino asked the crowd to jump in and sing along, they did it with ease. The memory of that just tells me what a devoted fan base C.G. has really amassed.
There were a few really huge moments that stuck out to me during the concert, things that will be very difficult for me to forget.
The first was his song, “You See Me,” from “Camp.” Now, this song itself wasn’t my favorite from the new album after streaming on NPR. But after the show the track instantly became one of my favorite. Not only did he dedicate it to all the Filipino people in the audience, since his concert fell on the same night as the Pacquiao fight, but he also had a very special visual show to go with it.
(Note: This clip contains some explicit content)
Video courtesy of TheRealConcertKing on Youtube.
This was the one time during the concert that Gambino give his fan access to his lyrics, so not only could they follow along, but they could see how talented he really is. Towards the end of the song, his lyrics reach near impossible speeds of speech, and as they flash across the screen, he doesn’t miss a beat. It was simple amazing to see that, and you can tell by the crowds reaction just how amazed they were.
My other favorite moment from the concert was when C.G. climbed a 20 foot light fixture, while rapping, sat on top, still rapping, and jumped off, still rapping. He really will do anything just to put on an amazing show for his fans.
With the mix of C.G. tracks old and new, everything from “Break: All of the Lights Remix,” to “Bonfire,” the show was everything that I wanted it to be and more. There are very few concerts where I can say after that it was better than the recording, but C.G. has blown all my expectations for live music out of the water.
At the end of the show, Gambino thanked all his fans, and announced his “Camp Tour,” that would take place in 2012. After having seen him live and listened to his new album, “Camp.” I really can’t wait to buy my tickets for “Camp Tour.”
There was no better way to get pumped up for C.G.’s new album than by seeing the “Sign Up Tour,” show at the Nokia Theater.