Denzel Curry Concert Review @ The Observatory 3/25/2016
There really is no escaping the moshpit at a Denzel Curry show. All around, a mass of mobile bodies thrashed into one another, letting themselves be taken by the high intensity music rumbling inside the Constellation Room. Playing a sold out show at The Observatory in Santa Ana, Curry made the third stop of his 2055: The ULT Experience Tour.
It became immediately apparent that this concert was going to surpass the intensity of any other show I had attended. When the first opener, J.K. The Reaper, came out he brought the first wave of exhilaration that would soon follow. While he jumped around on stage, the moshpits opened dead center of the crowd, the rest of the attendees shoving each other mercilessly. During his set, I must have moved around to different areas in the crowd at least five times. Next was Allan Kingdom, who although not being able to match the excitement of J.K. The Reaper’s set managed to keep the momentum going.
And while these two performers brought their own portion of excitement to the show, once Denzel Curry made his way to the stage it was clear why the Florida rapper has become such a sensation among hip-hop fans.
Wearing all black, Curry strutted on stage, dancing to the last of the of the opening DJ’s intermission between acts. He started with the banger “U.L.T.,” the fans eagerly following every line until they got the chance to chant the song’s infectious hook. The crowd comprised mostly teenage male hip-hop heads of various ethnicities. Every single one of them excitedly shoving anyone in their arm radius when the beat dropped.
Essentially The 2055 tour is a chance for fans to experience a young rapper at the moments before ascension when talent, hard work, luck and incredible live shows all align. In the current musical universe, a vast space of potential stars exist, all lighting the sky, some reaching the fiery magnitude of planets. With this, Denzel Curry burns brightest.
With his latest release, Imperial
, he continued his ascent, becoming one of the most interesting figures in a new, diverse era of rap not unlike that of the perennially celebrated 90’s.
After asking if the raucous crowd had downloaded Imperial
, Curry delved into “Gook” at full force, stopping at the second verse to rap it a cappella. Seeing the crowd impressed the beat came bursting out the speakers causing the fans to go wild. While the moshpits continued, various individuals started to crowd surf; when they couldn’t find anyone willing to carry them, they jumped onto the closest group until they lifted them above the sea of bodies. One person was carried to the stage during the performance of “Underwater,” Curry rushing over to grab him and throw him back atop the crowd. Even some of Curry’s compadres on stage participated in the stage diving.
He took the audience back to his first album midway through his set, playing a series of Nostalgic 64 cuts like “Parents,” “Talk That ***,” “Dark and Violent” and fan favorite, “Zone 3.” With every song the crowd became more rowdy and aggressive. In order to stay afloat you had to continuously keep moving or get pummeled.
Hearing tracks “Knotty Head” and “Sick and Tired” made two points extremely clear. First, Curry is preternaturally talented at agile flow transitions, from aggressive barks to the more melodic use of his voice. Secondly, even his most aggressive tracks translated into microcosmic infernos live, Curry’s possessed aura made for the punk/metal-esque vibe of the show.
He stopped at one point to ask the crowd if any of them liked Dragonball Z
, everyone in the room replying with a fervent yes. Curry had us raise our hands in order to make a spirit bomb and the surreal sonics of “Flying Nimbus” washed the room over. One of the few girls attending that night passionately shoved those near her as she jumped to the music. Over the course of night, the crowd was so mobile that I was continuously moving from the front of the crowd to the back to the front once again; this repeated movement happened throughout Curry’s set. Sometimes your position was determined by how wild the crowd became during a performance.
The whole Constellation Room was one giant moshpit. It crossed my mind whether coming out alive was going to be a viable option. If alive, perhaps injured. But that thought was diminished when “Purposely” started to rumble through the room and I started swinging.
To attend a Denzel Curry show is really a witness to the devoted following of his growing fan base. There are some artists whose fans detest the idea of the masses grabbing hold of the music they hold so dear but Denzel Curry fans are different in this respect. The youth out there getting thrashed in the moshpits, huddling around the merch table, chanting along fervently, sincerely want the music world to stay awake to the arrival of Aquarius’Killa.
By the time “Threatz” was done, my face, hair and shirt were drenched with sweat. Toward the end of his set, Curry split the crowd in half, donning one side the Spartans, the other the gladiators. He ordered each side to duke it out when the beat dropped. The crowd acquiesced, thrashing at each other like two armies in combat, the music pulsating through their bodies.
“Are ya’ll ready to go super saiyan or what?” Curry asked toward the end of his set. Then the beat to “Ultimate” dropped and there were multiple cranial explosions. There were no limits to the madness.