The Austin Chronicle

ACL Live Shot: Childish Gambino

By Kahron Spearman, October 4, 2014, 11:09am, Earache!

Childish Gambino laid waste to the Honda Stage, both literally and figuratively. Before a crowd in lockstep and friends sitting stageside in La-Z-Boys, Donald Glover took no prisoners. With a catalog rich in potential festival smashes, the most confident rapper in short-shorts carried out an ACL Fest set with the precision of a sledgehammer.

Through his career groundswell, a peculiarly slow crash into success, Glover mows down sets with a chip on his shoulder. Jay Z would say that stack is the size of the Golden Nugget, but that’s not enough. It’s wrought by molten lava.

The rapper/comedian has typically provided vibrant, elastic performances, but always within measure, usually a typical MC context. Completely “turnt up” – subtlety left at home in Stone Mountain, Georgia – he charged into his set animated and unrestrained.

By the time the shirtless wordsmith made it to his certified hit, “3005,” a carpet-bombing of previous ideas was under way. Glover added onto his already bottom-heavy jams by cheekily asking festival goers if they wanted to “hear some shit with bass in it.” He then added rap-metal to the mix with “II. Shadows.”

Moving into the uninhibited, he simulated oral sex. That brought gasps from the prudes in the cheap seats and yells of approval from everyone else. This scorched-earth mentality was then embodied by “Bonfire,” pyrotechnics becoming a telling visual on future intent.

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