Ahead of his AFROPUNK Festival performance, we wanted to get under the skin of what it feels like to be at a Danny Brown concert. Keakie's Washington editor Joe Reitan recounts his experience of Danny Brown on his US tour at the back end of last year:
The Knitting Factory Spokane, that was the venue for the event. Danny Brown had announced a tour in July, and just a few days later the tickets were on sale for me to buy. I had actually seen Danny Brown live once before, and that was when he was on the undercard of the Tyler the Creator and A$AP Rocky tour, in Seattle of late 2015. Now, the venue is different, the crowd is different, and the lineup is completely different as well. Danny Brown recruits fellow Bruiser Brigade members Dopehead as a hype man, and Zelooperz to open the show. Additionally, Maxo Kream made his way onto the undercard, making this a must-see show for me.
Zelooperz and Maxo Kream amp the crowd
When we first got to the venue, we were shook to see the house was not nearly full. This medium-sized venue would usually sell out the occasional big names it would see, so there was reason to be startled, especially when we had such high hopes for this show.
Luckily, a good portion of people were seated in the bar area, and would soon join the crowd for what would be a crazy show. Zelooperz was the first to take the stage, and the only to do it solo. Fellow Detroit rapper Zelooperz, or Walter Williams, did around a five song set, including songs like 'PayPal', 'Scale', and his biggest song 'ISBD'. Spotting a mosh-hungry crowd early, Zeloopez did 'ISBD' inside the crowd, yelling over the mic "Nobody touch me, nobody touch my back pockets, no I don't need help, I know what I'm doing!"
By the time Zel had ended his set, the crowd was hot. Each song the dj played during the intermission had the the people bumpin', and Maxo Kream took full advantage of this. Taking the stage in a signature headband and sports jersey, Maxo performed songs mainly off of his new album 'The Persona Tape', including bangers like 'Hit Mane', 'Spike Lee', and 'Smoke Break' before throwing it back to a classic, 'Clientele'. Maxo gassed the crowd pretty hard though, and had me wondering if everybody would stay energetic enough for Danny.
Danny Brown hits the stage
There was no way this crowd was going to die down for Danny Brown. I still can't identify what sounds Danny was using to start off the show. As the lights hit we would hear a fuzzy, distorted, possibly old-rock tune. As morphed and undestiguishable as it was, it gave a very appropriate vibe for the show. Then, Danny hit the stage in all black wearing his sleeveless leather jacket over a Dead Kennedys shirt, along with torn skinny jeans and kneepads over them.
I myself had lost my favorite hat to the monstrous crowd, and there was absolutely no way in hell I was getting it back during this show. Dopehead went insane with Danny, hyping tje crowd to a new level, while Danny bounced and rapped his lines as chill as ever. Danny performed an exhaustive 21 song setlist, going over his well-known songs such as 'Blunt After Blunt', 'Smokin & Drinkin', and 'Dip', as well as '25 Bucks' and 'Growin Up', which as old as they were, had the fans going along to every word and enjoying it to the fullest.
Danny Brown ended the show with four songs off of 'Atrocity Exibition'. He did his verse and the hook of 'Really Doe', followed by 'When It Rain', 'Dance In The Water', and 'Pneumonia'. I was very impressed with Danny Brown's ability to perform these songs live, most of them not necessarily using a beat drop to shake the crowd, as these beats come off as almost industrial. Danny Brown brought the pure emotion with his raps, not dropping the mic for a line and always keeping the crowd bouncing. Danny ensured everybody got down to his new music, even if the sounds were new to so many people.
’The Exibition Tour’, a night to never forget
As we made our way out of the venue, we spotted Maxo Kream sitting at the merch table. I wanted to buy a headband and get it signed to make up for my lost hat, but knowing that I will never pull a headband off, I decided to keep going, also because Maxo seemed a little irritable, and I'm too shy for that. Maxo did say a little something about Xans and Weed before he ended his set, so that may explain his mindset as well as the fact that we saw him again just 5 minutes later, standing in the middle of W. 1st Ave, looking for his ride. Being within feet of him for the third time that night, I let out a light "yeaauhh, maxooo", as I walked past him, maintaining my fandom.
Zelooperz also hung around outside the venue for a bit after the show, smoking his cig and chatting with fans. He caught me staring sideways at the ground and asked if I was drunk, I replied with a chuckle saying "No... not really", before our group eventually complimented his show and got on our way, and I was happy to have those short interactions to end the event. As for Danny Brown, I really look forward to seeing him live again, just out of curiosity to see how he would perform the deeper cuts on his fantastic album, 'Atrocity Exibition'.
See Danny Brown for yourself at AFROPUNK Fest on July 22nd, here:
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