Review: Childish Gambino Big Day Out side show in Sydney
It was a sweltering night in Sydney as The Standard started filling with fans eager to see their hip-hop hero in the flesh on his first visit to Australia.
Childish Gambino a.k.a. Donald Glover, who took his stage name from a Wu Tang Clan name generator, is a man of many talents - also known as Troy Barnes from cult comedy ‘Community’ and one of the youngest writers on the hit show ’30 Rock.’ Being both an actor and a stand up comedian, he has a confidence and swagger onstage that comes from years in the spotlight. But tonight he wasn’t here as lovable Troy - he was here to rap.
The crowd was heaving by the time Gambino took to the stage with a four-piece band as his back up. He launched straight into a harder version of ‘Outside,’ which was met by a sea of hands in the air and phones capturing the moment. He followed it up quickly with the pulsing ‘Firefly,’ which the crowd ate up, singing along to every word.
Childish Gambino trades on his smart, self aware lyrics and his studied confidence on-stage. He spits rhymes with assurance and mixes delicious word play along with an awareness that he isn’t as ‘street’ as some of his contemporaries. His song ‘LES,’ which skewers hipsters, other rappers, tattoos and even himself, was a crowd favourite as everyone joined in his rapid patter.
Clad in a simple t-shirt, the rapper held the crowd in the palm of his hand. Every word he said was met with thunderous cheers and his humour was evident in his playful stage banter. His band was tight and able to keep up with his energetic set and stage moves.
His singles ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Bonfire’ had the crowd in a frenzy until he left the stage, returning to perform a few freestyle numbers before the night ended, and the happy, sweat-soaked masses were left to disperse into the hot summer night.
You can see Childish Gambino play the ‘2013 Big Day Out’ this month, or check out his Melbourne side show on January 23!
Written by Miranda Boyce