I caught up with YG on DJ Mustard's tour bus for a few shots after his sold out show last night at Dusk. The place was literally a sauna. I had to wipe my lens between shots to even see through the glass. There were some sound issues but YG played it like a pro and had the crowd roaring his lyrics back at him acapella till the power came back. His "My Krazy Life" tour hits Portland tonight at the Roseland.
It seemed as if the concert bookers of Eugene had opened the floodgates for live music that catered to the college-aged masses last weekend. UO students and the Eugene community were able to see Medium Troy, RJD2 and Devin the Dude at the Bohemian Dub Ball at the Hult Center on Saturday. Others chose to attend Night Beats, Wampire and a DJ competition for the Willamette Valley Music Festival all through the night on campus as well.
But the highest-profile name to come through Eugene for the weekend (that is, if you weren’t seeing Steve Martin at the Hult) was rapper-comedian-actor Donald Glover’s, who performed as Childish Gambino at Cuthbert Friday night.
Many are quick to label Gambino as the “hip-hop alter ego” of the television and comedy star, and with good reason. Glover, of course, was a “world star before rap”—as he sings on “World Star” from 2013 release Because The Internet.
Glover may have first earned his fame from his work on television with starring in Community and writing for 30 Rock, or comedy with Derek Comedy and his standup on Comedy Central. But when he performed in front of a packed crowd in Eugene, the audience was able to enjoy the concert through the lens of his identity as a rapper. The crowd may have been aware of his previous accolades, but they were certainly at the Childish Gambino concert to see a hip-hop performance.
Danny Brown initially set the mood for a rap show at The Cuthbert early in the night, throwing down with the crowd to songs like “25 Bucks” (which uses a beat produced by indie-electro pop band Purity Ring) and a freestyle track that sampled a song from Watch The Throne by Kanye West and Jay-Z.
After Danny Brown finished his set and as the rain began to come down hard, live DJ Stefan Ponce helped keep the party going.
Right off the bat, he announced that it would “take more than rain” to stop Childish Gambino from performing tonight. Energy stayed high in the building, and the DJ played music by Drake, Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar and even MIA, Snoop Dogg and Michael Jackson.
When Ponce finished his set, the “digital experience” of Childish Gambino’s Deep Web Tour was set to begin. Most notably, fans were encouraged to download the Deep Web App, in which the crowd was able to draw messages that would appear on the stage screen. This feature was received much better than the dial tone that blared through the venue while fans waited for Gambino to take the stage.
When Gambino did begin his show, however, the energy was much higher than many would have expected considering that Community had been cancelled earlier that day, and that he was performing in a rainy college town. But while rocking a crewneck and white shorts in the rain, Gambino and his live band dished out a suitable mix of his more sentimental music to chase down the party-atmosphere bangers for the crowd.
The live 7-piece band was also a refreshing change of pace for a hip-hop show in 2014, and fans seemed to appreciate the sincerity that came with the real-life instrumentation.
Another interesting feature of the gig was an additional scrim and chandelier that were lowered during the show. Recalling the interactivity of the set, the audience was also able to participate in a mid-concert poll in which they indicated that they were feeling “some type of way” — like the song by Rich Homie Quan.
Between each chant of “World Star!” that emerged from the crowd during the show, Gambino’s energy gave everyone in attendance a constant reminder as to why Donald Glover has remained the Internet star that we know and love. — Bryan Kalbrosky
Kinda behind on posting these but I caught up with Bombadil before their show last week at Sam Bond's. We took some photos in the studio and around the Whit. One of the live shots made Rolling Stone's Hottest Live Photos of 2014.
I caught up with Ty during his soundcheck and took a few portraits.
The shot above is featured in Rolling Stone's Hottest Live Photos of 2014
Young the Giant
I caught the last couple songs of Echosmith's set.
The photo above is featured in Rolling Stone's Hottest Live Photos of 2014
The "I Am T-Pain" tour rolled through Eugene last Thursday night to a sold-out audience at Studio 44. The Grammy award-winning singer showed up around 11, did a quick meet and greet, pre-funct a bit, then took the stage for a hits-heavy set packed with his own material and collaborations.
The photo above is featured in Rolling Stone's Hottest Live Photos of 2014.
Was Event II always part of the plan for Deltron 3030 or did it just sort of happen years down the road? And why such a long break between albums?
We kind of always intended on the new one but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through with it. With the first one, the touring just wasn’t pleasant for me. I wasn’t able to study the lyrics so I basically free-styled every night the whole show. And the fans liked it but it was hella stressful for me. So that just left a bitter taste in my mouth. I kind of didn’t want to do it again. But I thought about it. And they were patient. They waited for years, you know what I’m sayin’? They gave me the music hella long ago, like years ago. And I kind of just nibbled at it. Ultimately the fans are what made me want to do it because they were raving about it [Deltron 3030]. It really affected a lot of people. So yeah, that’s why I decided to do it and to do it the way I did it. It’s hard though so that’s why it took so long. I had to research to write the shit basically. Then I had to figure out how to fit all that into a 3-minute/4-minute song format. It’s not like writing a novel. It’s a different type of writing. So I just had to figure out how to make it all work. I was checking out other rock operas and shit, you know? See how the classics were done, how they made it work. This isn’t as loose because they’re a lot of lyrics flying by. I think we did a good job.
Could you tell us about your inspirations for writing to this album?
George Orwell and 1984 is probably the main reference point for me for this project and for the rest of the shit that I do too. Pretty much all my artistic output references 1984 just because he and I have the same mindstate about shit. I mean, I read that book in high school but it just stuck with me.
Has this touring experience been better than the last?
Yeah. Hell yeah! I mean, I’m enjoying this shit. But we have it set up to where I can do the lyrics and not be fucking up. So it’s cool. Automator has a different set up. Everybody in the band is hella cool. I get along with everybody really well. They’re all great musicians. The vibe is better. The music … I personally like the music better. I like the lyrics better. I’m starting to get into the songs more as I perform them. Sometimes when you do songs you’re not even thinking about it but with performing these new ones I’m starting to realize myself what the fuck I’m saying.
Do the performances evolve at each show?
It evolves as far as how involved I am with the performance part of it. Because like I said, I’m learning the lyrics more and more every show. At this point I damn near know it all by heart. As far as that goes, the shows are getting better every night. And the band is feeding off me. They’re getting better, knowing the material better. So that allows them to flex a little bit, style a little bit. It’s just a better overall performance. I can tell from the audiences’ reaction. People always was thought it was tight. But motherfuckers was following me from a few of the other shows. I was skating home and folks was following me. And I was like, “Damn?! It’s that great?” Not that I hella mind. I’m just peeping that the vibe is stronger because the shows are getting better.
Well no doubt you are revered by fans and viewed as an influential underground MC? Does that have any affect on you or feel like pressure when you are writing?
I take it all with a grain of salt. I mean, it’s cool. I understand. But I’m not trying to get a super dome or whatever and let it affect me like it really means something. This shit is entertainment. It’s not no big-ass deal. But I understand why people get so fanatical. When you get into something, you’re fanatical about it. Like, I’m kind of that way with skating right now. Every fucking town we go to I get another board. You know what I’m sayin’? I got hella boards now.
I don’t know if you saw the construction but we have a really big skate park underway over between Washington and Jefferson. Just a few blocks from here, really.
That’s tight man. I got a little skate park where I stay at. It’s inside of another park. Kind of far away but when I get tired of riding on gravel and shit or if I really want to practice, I go up there.
What got you into skating?
’Cause I be around skaters all the time and just finally decided to. I was riding a scooter for years as a means of transportation. Then, I got a caster board. That’s what started me skating. I liked the caster board because it just looked hella fresh. It looked like an anime jousting stick or some shit. You know what I’m sayin’? It just looked hella sick. So I bought the shit and learned how to ride that, which was hella hard. But it looked so fresh and futuristic that I learned how to ride it anyway. And skaters that I was around was kind of clowning me like, “Why you riding that?” I’m like “What’s wrong with it?” They wouldn’t say but just said, “Man, ride a skateboard. Ride something real.” So eventually I said fuck it. And then I found that when I got on a skateboard, it was hella easy after learning the caster board. You know? ’Cause with that you only got two wheels and it spins 360 degrees around … which I thought was tight. So when I hopped on a skateboard it wasn’t shit. But before I was scared to get on a skateboard because I fell down when I was hella young. I was trying to go down a big hill or some stupid shit that I had no business doing even if I knew how to skate. Now it’s not a big deal. The hard part for me is learning how to ollie. That shit is hella hard. I almost got it now but I spend a lot of time practicing. You got to.
But yeah, that’s pretty much how I got into it. It’s just the culture that I’ve been around ever since I was younger. Counter-culture type dudes. After a while I just wanted to try it. It’s hella fun. I take it wherever I go. But I use it mainly as a means of transportation.
Any other Del projects in the works?
Yeah, I’m working on a project with Ladybug Mecca from Digable Planets. It’s called Beat Intellectual Project or Beat Intel Pro for short. That’s pretty much done and the next one out. I’m just trying to get some guest appearances. I think Dan said he wanted to do some production too. Koala wants to do something with it because he liked it when he heard it. That’s the main thing that I’m working on now. So look out for that in 2014.
First period classes at South Eugene High School on Wednesday morning were bound to be filled with chitter chatter about the Earl Sweatshirt concert that rattled the WOW Hall the night before. The audience was predominately young and overtly rowdy but this is exactly the kind of vibe Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt wants when he spits his compelling acidic flow over murky, downer beats.
The show didn’t begin until 9:40 pm but fans were lining up outside the WOW much earlier, closer to 6 pm. To experience the full-throttle insanity that takes place at an Odd Future (OF) show, you must be plopped front and center. The base of the doors leading into WOW were covered with empty Gatorade and water bottles that appeared to have not been used to inject loads of electrolytes, rather presumably, cheap liquor. A few spots before a light frisking by security, one concert attendee left behind a pair of small scissors. Thank Yeezus those were left at the door.
There are a few guarantees when attending an Odd Future performance: the crowd will play an unregulated game of who can sport the craziest shirt/threads (that night’s winner was a young fellow who was wearing a complete astronaut suit minus the helmet), the venue’s alcohol sales will drop due to a massive underage audience and the rap collective’s DJ will spin for at least a half hour before any rappers come on stage. Tonight’s DJ was the chief OF DJ Syd tha Kyd (she’s covering for her brother Taco who is out for four Doris dates, including Eugene). Syd tha Kyd spins some aggressive records and drops while the crowd begins to rise to simmering temperatures.
It’s at this point that Syd tha Kyd looks to her right while playing “Kill” off of Earl Sweatshirt’s self titled debut mix tape and nods for Earl and Vince Staples, another young rapper not in OF but appears on many Earl tracks, to come on stage.
Earl is wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt and the hood was permanently placed over his head throughout his performance. He commands the audience by doing very little and he holds the mic close to his mouth a la Jay Z but in his own manner. Earl and Vince Staples start ripping through a Doris-lopsided set (he only played two tracks off his outstanding debut, “Kill” and “Earl”) and the crowd gobbles whatever he tosses at them.
During a short break in between songs, an audience member sprays water on stage, which slightly peeves Earl who then recognizes the disruptive dweeb. “I remember this kid from last time,” says Earl, which causes WOW to erupt with cheers. Referring to last May’s performance, Earl tells the crowd that this uncontrollable fan challenged Earl mid show to an impromptu rap battle before backing out. This momentary delay ends quickly and Earl is back on the mic plucking through every track off his major label debut Doris.
Earl’s emotions on stage fluctuated throughout the performance. At times he appeared bored, almost as if rapping to the same young white majority crowds night after night can be as cumbersome as is seems. But there were moments of undeniable genius. Midway through his hour-long set, Earl said, “Hey light man! Can we have something very ominous?” And the venue was soon flipped into a dark, fog-filled room that was only lit by a red, velvet light. During these songs, his raps developed into the dark, brilliant anthems for the conscience youth, which make Earl a noticeable dot on the rap game’s monitor.
The last song of the night was fan favorite “Drop” and Earl had the crowd separate into two sections so he can compare which side was wilder. After a few minutes of teasing the kids, Earl and Vince Staple tore through their final song and left with no signs of an encore.
Filling out of WOW Hall was slow but it gave chance to see who was in front and who exerted every ounce of energy they had for the show. Young boys were dripping with sweat (which backfired for it was roughly 40 degrees outside) and one boy was applying a backwards cross with a Sharpie on his chest while waiting to exit. These are the fans that propel Odd Future and that night they waited in the cold for their rides to come pick them up.
Words by Silas Valentino. Color photos by Todd Cooper. B&W photos by Rob Sydor
The shot above is also included in Rolling Stone's "Hottest Live Photos of 2013" gallery.