Danny Brown's Old & Reckless Tour has been the topic of much discussion ever since a show in Minnesota where he got his blank blanked by a female fan while he was on stage. The incident sparked a good deal of controversy, believe it or not, and led to arguments either trashing Danny or wholeheartedly supporting him. His tour mate, Kitty Pryde, summed up the whole thing wonderfully in her article here. The black cloud that looms over the tour has begun to break up, however, and last night's show at Irving Plaza was proof of clearer skies to come for Danny & Co.
I walked in with a couple of friends literally right as Danny, dressed to the nines in a t-shirt, basketball shorts and tube socks, took the stage. The timing was a good sign. The crowd was hype. I repeat: the crowd was hype. Wasting no time, he tore into a three song intro without taking a break to catch his breath. In fact, besides a quick shout out to Kitty Pryde and a couple of New York what's ups, Danny was a juggernaut. His one hour on stage was devoted purely to his music. There was no hype man or guest appearances, just one MC and his DJ Skywalker behind him providing the beats. His stage presence almost makes that a prerequisite, the frenetic energy that he displays needs to have its own spotlight.
Brown has become an indie rap favorite because of his out sized persona and unique, instantly recognizable flow. On stage, his understated appearance is the opposite of the kind of overindulgent opulence one sees a lot in rap today. His music speaks for itself and the crowd last night was ready to listen. His fans are devoted and passionate. There wasn't a time all night when he paused to let them come in that they didn't know all the words. And all it took was Brown's patented devil's horns salute at any time to keep them at a fever-pitch. Like I said, the crowd was hype.
When he dropped his joint produced by Araabmuzik, "Molly Ringwald", a mosh pit started that lasted the rest of the show. The only other hip hop show I've been to where I saw a mosh pit was Odd Future a couple years ago at Primavera. "Radio Song" was delivered by the audience to Danny as much as he performed it. He followed a personal favorite of mine, "Blunt After Blunt", with "Kush Coma" because, like Danny asked the crowd, what happens after you smoke blunt after blunt after blunt after blunt? But the best song all night went to "I Will" off his critically acclaimed XXX album that had Danny rapping the last verse without music and the crowd clapping to keep time.
Much to the room's disappointment, he didn't come out for an encore but, still, Danny Brown gave a hell of a show. There was no filler time or long, drawn out talking breaks in between songs. Danny Brown was there to rap. The only thing that I wished I had seen, I guess because I first discovered Brown through listening to a lot of Detroit hip hop, was him doing any of his Black Milk or J Dilla produced tracks. But, still, it was easily worth the $20. I commemorated the event by smoking a spliff before the show, drinking a $13 Bud Light inside and taking some terrible pictures with my iPhone. I won't share the pictures.