Childish Gambino rolled through town last week to perform at The Riviera, and the man put on a show that further cements him as one of the most exciting young rappers coming into scene.
The show began promptly at 7:30, the theatre quickly filling up shortly after the doors were opened. Danny Brown took to the stage along with his brand of energetic rap. His set may have been limited due to the time constraints of the show altogether, but it was jam-packed with his signature humorous lyrics as heard on tracks like “Radio Song” and “Lie4,″ along with tracks off his XXX album. There were, however, some drawbacks to Detroit’s young rapper’s performance at the Riviera. The old theatre is notorious for housing a troubled sound system, which wasn’t helped by Brown’s insistence of holding his mic awfully close to his mouth, making those hilarious bars lose their impact. Ultimately, Brown had a decent set. He is doing the rounds and slowly learning what it takes to perform for theatre crowds in hopes that someday he would command a stage much like the headlining act that brought him there.
Shortly after Danny Brown’s set, the headliner made his way to the stage and immediately livened up the 95-year-old theatre with his mere presence. The ladies were screaming with many of these proudly declaring themselves “Gambino Girls.” But it wasn’t just the ladies going crazy for the man who’s one of rap’s most exciting up-and-coming figures, the men in the crowd were also making themselves heard as they (we) chanted “Gam-bi-no, Gam-bi-no!” with their (our) fists piercing the sky.
Childish Gambino opened his set with the opening track of Camp, “Outside,” and the crowd responded by singing back every word from every verse and chorus. This was a perfect glimpse to what the rest of the show would be like. The rest of the show was filled with many other tracks from Camp like his most popular track today, “Heartbeat,” along with “Firefly,” “All The Shine,” and “Les,” among others. These songs showed off Childish’s growth as an artist with a much more confident presence on stage. But Donald Glover’s rap alter ego completely owned the stage and caused the crowd to roar when he belted out “You See Me.” Every line may have been displayed on the screen hanging behind him, but the crowd hardly needed it as they rapped every line of the (another) song known famously for its displays of love for Asian girls (U.C.L.A.!).
Some of the “classics” like “Freaks and Geeks,” “So Fly,” and “Do Ya Like,” also found their way into the setlist and were received just as well as the new material. After leaving the stage for a short while, Gambino came back for an encore performance that further justified the packed house we saw that night. The encore set also showed off the headliner’s musical talents in the short time it was executed. Gambino performed a new project in “Make ‘Em Mad” w/ Steve G. Lover , who also joined him onstage as he free-styled over the “Rack City” beat. The night was capped with another crowd favorite, “Lights Turned On.” Knowing it was the last song of the night, the crowd sang along to Gambino’s every line and sent him off stage at the end of the show with an even louder round of applause hoping he’d come back for just one more tune.
Sadly he didn’t perform any other song after that, but at the very least everyone who was present that night left the Riviera having experienced one of the most exciting concerts in all of rap today and the knowledge of having seen one of the game’s future legends.
Childish Gambino setlist:
Freaks and Geeks
Do Ya Like
Difference / I’m On It
Rolling in the Deep (Remix)
All the Shine
You See Me
Make ‘Em Mad (w/ Steve G. Lover)
Freestyle (w/ Steve G. Lover)
Lights Turned On