One of the handful of times that I’ve seen Danny Brown was when he opened for Childish Gambino at the Cuthbert Amphitheater in 2014. That show became the epitome of most every rap show I’ve seen in Eugene. After finishing up a song, that contained the n-word multiple times, Childish Gambino looked out at the crowd — who had been singing along loudly the whole time — and said something along the lines of:
“You guys are like, all white and are saying the n-word? Eugene, y’all are hella racist.” The crowd responded in laughter.
Although no one got called out at Danny Brown’s most recent show at WOW Hall on Oct. 8, there sure were a whole lot of white people saying the n-word en masse. Whether it’s the comfort of being around a like-minded crowd or the excitement, the pure hype shows like these bring, the way Eugene’s white community interacts with rap music is pretty solidified and here to stay.
Danny Brown shows at least make it a little easier to overlook these things. Besides just being an entertaining performer with extremely catchy songs, Brown tends to draw a pretty stylistically diverse crowd. Along with the expected audience members, UO students decked out in various sports jerseys and area high schoolers grinding against their significant others, there were also a good amount of people who looked like they were transported straight from a hardcore or post-punk show.
There were women with dyed hair and men dressed in all black and skinny jeans. They weren't there ironically though, as most everyone in the packed hall was singing and rapping along. Brown himself is clearly a bit of an outcast. His newest album is called Atrocity Exhibition, named after the Joy Division song, and he's always been known for not really fitting into the hip-hop norm. (Brown actually entered the stage to the Joy Division song, blasting over a frantic light show.)
Stylistically, Atrocity Exhibition is a little outside of Brown’s usual material. It's definitely more intense, more alternative and, undeniably, more him. But WOW Hall’s crowd ate it up regardless.
Before flying into new material near the latter half of the night, Brown started his set out with a slew of his biggest bangers: “Die Like A Rockstar,” “Lie4,” “I Will” and a handful of others, which got me, and a few other people I was talking to at the show, thinking: Danny Brown sure has a lot of hits. The couple songs I thought I knew relatively well by him actually turned out to be about ten songs that I knew every word to, which he performed throughout the night.
Song after song, the crowd stuck with Brown, showing the performer that they were very, very into his set. Near the end of the show there were even a couple crowd surfers and a good-sized mosh pit — definitely not something you see at every rap concert.
Brown didn’t play an encore, which normally, I think, would’ve surprised most concert-goers, but at this show, everyone left sweaty and smiling — from those wearing Unknown Pleasures t-shirts to those wearing basketball shorts.