Danny Brown and Kid Sister - the Echoplex - 1/24/12
Danny Brown walked on stage not long after, rocking a leather jacket and combat boots, as if ready for war. He'd come to town to please his fans who hadn't caught him at the Roxy last fall, and likely left with many new ones. Kicking off the set with "Radio Song," Brown emoted cool confidence. One thing I immediately noticed was how much his distinct, nasally cadence manages to stand out over the beat. During "Lie4," you could hear every one of his lyrics clearly, something practically unheard of for a hip-hop concert, which often drown the vocals in bass. The crowd showed appreciation by yelling back the chorus: "Got that income tax swag."
With security busy kicking out weed smokers (as usual), several fans jumped on stage during "I Will," causing an tense interaction when one attempted to go in to Brown's pockets and somehow escaped with his life, after being dragged away. This soured the rapper's ode to cunnilingus and Brown, visibly shaken, took a minute to regain his composure. By the time the next song "Bruiser Brigade" had started, the incident had been all but forgotten and the crowd grew restless, with a mosh pit breaking out near the front. The highlight of the set "Blunt After Blunt" capped things off, with Brown headbanging and swinging his hair wildly. Then, out of nowhere, Schoolboy Q unexpectedly jumped on stage, offering him a toke.
A two song encore followed, but Brown, who admitted taking MDMA earlier in the evening, was clearly feeling the effects, shuffling around the stage in a daze during the last song "Cloud Skatin" with Main Attrakionz, who were all still brimming with youthful energy.
Aaron Frank Danny Brown
Overall, it was an incredibly pleasing performance from an artist deemed "up-and-coming" for the past four years, who still seems to get little respect from his peers, despite unique talent and creativity. His delivery and vivid rhymes set him apart from most rappers. Still, with his extremely limited verbal interaction and a prompt exit, his onstage persona still leaves something to be desired. Not every rapper has to be Yelawolf: shirtless, drunk and crowdsurfing at every show. But there's something to be said for maintaining the same unhinged character both in your music and in a live setting.
Personal Bias: I interviewed Danny Brown recently.
The Crowd: There had to be at least five people over 30 there.
See also: Danny Brown is Hip-Hop's Cormac McCarthy