Denzel Curry live at Warehouse 508, Sept. 23, 2014

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Denzel Curry and Deniro Farrar

By Joe DeBonis

            I have a hard time going to rap shows any more. Its not like I don’t love the genre still and love some of the newer acts that are coming out with music that is unique and ground breaking, but seeing stereotypical rap live just doesn’t do it for me anymore. If you don’t know every single lyric, then chances are the show won’t be worth it. I thought Denzel Curry would be different. He is one of the trap infused rap stars that actually does shows that are easy to get into if no lyrics are known with the amount of moshing, rage and anger that fill his music. His aggressive beats, heated style and overall distinctive approach to a sometimes over done genre usually leave me ready to rumble. So I figured, why the hell not. Why not go see someone who I knew at the very least was going to get the crowd moshing. I had seen him once before with Danny Brown and his set had almost been as good as Danny’s just because everyone was able to get into the music fairly easily and mosh around, even without knowing the lyrics.

Of course, the whole fact that the show was at Warehouse 508 kind of put me off. Then on top of that I had to pay 19 bucks. I was starved for live music at this point though and I assumed most of my friends would go, so I committed the money and bought my ticket. Once there, I had to sit through a local rapper and two other warm up acts before Denzel even hit the stage. The local rapper was decent, had a nice flow and was talking about relevant things. Just like every other half way decent rapper that has ever made it big. This guy just wasn’t doing anything new or exciting, but I give him credit, I can’t rhyme like he was doing. The simple fact of the matter for me though, is that I just don’t look for a neat flow when I am assessing rap. I need a gimmick or something interesting about the rapper to make me in any way interested in his music. Unless the rapper is breaking grounds, most of it all is starting to blend together for me. So when the next guy came on, some dude touring with Denzel, I was at least happy he had a better stage presence. Other than that, it was nothing special. He rapped about money hoes and guns of course but he turned up a bit and I started to look forward to what was to come.

That was Deniro Farrar, the other guy co-headlining the tour with Denzel. His set was actually one of the first rap sets I got into without knowing a single song. Musically his beats were fairly similar to the kind of stuff Denzel was making so I was able to mosh a bit. Personality wise, the guy was a little nuts. He talked about how he would kill someone if he had to and also had the predominantly white crowd chant the n word back at him for one of his songs. I will give him this, he was weird and that was enough to intrigue me. I was finally ready to turn up, finally ready to have a reason to have worn contacts instead of my trusty glasses.

Denzel Curry came on stage and immediately the crowd became more interested. There was just a different feel surrounding me now that the main attraction was on stage. His first couple songs got the people going and when “Zone 3” went off, the crowd went crazy. Now on a side note, the term crowd is a little generous. There was maybe 40 people there tops and in the cramped Warehouse 508 it felt like even fewer people. Nonetheless everyone got going the more Denzel got into his set. Then the music stopped when something happened to the sound system and that’s when shit hit the fan. Apparently Denzel’s manager had come into the crowd for “Zone 3” and moshed with us. He also lost his phone and had gone up on stage to ask Denzel to ask us about it. That’s when things got interesting. Instead of helping us look for the phone or even simply asking us to look harder, Denzel asked us first if anyone had seen it, then when no one had responded fast enough for him, he asked who had it. When no one spoke up after that too, he promptly told us he was not performing until he saw the phone. He instantly got aggressive towards us and his accusations rang hollowly around the venue as everyone shrugged their shoulders, knowing they themselves hadn’t taken the phone and assuming someone was just not speaking up.

At this point I began to become furious. The fact a touring artist who had taken 20 dollars from each of us to perform a 45 minute set would accuse a crowd of adoring fans from stealing from his manager was the most outrageous thing I had ever heard. Not only did every single over privileged teen in there have their own smart phone to begin with, we were all much more interested in what was going on stage rather than any lost, broke phones being kicked around on the floor. Denzel didn’t seem to realize this or care and as he angrily left the stage, I could feel his accusing eyes and found myself getting madder and madder. To be accused, either by yourself or in a crowd, is one of the fundamental breaks of trust anyone can have with another. Granted what trust should Denzel have for me or me to him. I just didn’t like the fact I paid him 20 dollars for him to entertain me and then watch him accuse me of robbing his manager, when the chances of the phone just being under the stage were much higher than anything. And guess what. That’s where the phone was. We found it after Denzel had gone back stage. He was called back and he sheepishly came back on stage and did the rest of the show as if nothing had happened.

Denzel still had a bad taste in his mouth though and he finally called out Warehouse 508 for the shitty sound quality in between songs. He finished the show though which I was surprised about, but I never got back into it. I was too offended by his accusations. I moshed a little towards the end but it just wasn’t the same. Maybe I over reacted. Maybe I had no right to be mad. I was though, and rap shows had finally been ruined for good for me. I am sure I will eventually go to another, but in the near future I just can’t see myself paying to see a rapper act like a fool on stage.

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