​Denzel Curry thrills crowd with visceral performance

Feral energy and passionate crowd take the Jefferson by storm


Denzel Curry graced the Jefferson stage Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Andrew Carl | Cavalier Daily

Depressingly rainy nights make for fantastic rap concerts. After scrambling to get inside the Jefferson, fans had to push through a flock of eager peers to claim spots in front of the stage — to call it hectic would be an understatement.

The first opening act, Yoshi Thompkins, exploded as soon as he was handed the mic. Rapping with a refreshing sense of urgency and armed with a giant wooden staff, which at one point he used to part the crowd, Yoshi had no time to waste. Machine gun flows, relentless beats and non compos mentis stage antics defined his performance.

As Yoshi ended his set, Boogie began his. Bringing some west coast flavor to an otherwise Miami-centric show, Boogie paid homage to his hometown of Compton, Calif. through songs addressing the street crime and police brutality in his neighborhood. This change of pace made for a great transition into the next set. After riling up the crowd to give a raucous rendition of NWA’s trademark “F—k Tha Police” credo, Boogie drifted to the side of the stage.

Enter Denzel Curry.

When asked what he thought set him apart from his contemporaries, Denzel said, “S—t, me being Denzel Curry.” The passive onlooker might brand that response as particularly inane, but anyone who has been to a Denzel Curry show will know that it’s the only appropriate response. As soon as he stepped onstage, the crowd went ballistic. From then until the end of the show, Denzel Curry was in perpetual motion.

The most riveting part of his performance was his ability to meld elements of punk rock, underground rap and grime live performance into a highly volatile amalgam. Dreadlocks cracking in every direction, stage dives, flips, screamed vocals — it was all reminiscent of performances of the D.C.-based punk band Bad Brains during their artistic peak. Curry even used “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Metallica as a segue between songs. The show was everywhere at once.

The energy of the crowd reached its peak during songs like “Ultimate,” “Gook” and “Threatz.” Another high point of the show was Denzel’s ability to balance his older hits with his new material. When asked who his dream co-performers would be, Denzel said “Tupac, Big L, Andre 3000, Cee-Lo Green [and] The Weeknd” were at the top of his list. It will be interesting to see how Curry’s growing fame and popularity will affect his craft and choice of collaborators.

“It was when I was three years old,” Denzel said, describing when and why he decided to be an artist. “Not a rap artist — I just wanted to be an artist. Period. My father is the main inspiration. He wasn’t necessarily an artist himself, but he taught me how to draw. And that was important.”

As the show came to an end, the crowd was left sweaty, bruised and wanting more.

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