ACL Review: Danny Brown

Detroit rapper reigns over the mosh pit

Overheard early Sunday afternoon at the Honda main stage: “I’ve never seen a rap show with a mosh pit.” This, clearly, constituted a first-timer at a Danny Brown show.

Photo by Gary Miller

Almost immediately after the Detroit rapper took the stage for a scorching 3pm set time, hordes of (mostly) dudes began hurling themselves into each other. Brown oversaw the scrum from the stage, sticking out his tongue and holding up one hand in the rock-on symbol. No one could have been more pleased with the chaos orchestrated from the stage.

Brown’s beats alone inspire the frenzy. High-octane cuts like “Smokin & Drinkin” are enough to set a house party on fire. The energy, though, that’s what fuels his live performances.

During “Dip,” he did an exaggerated jog back and forth across the stage, barking his lyrics to the crowd and holding up the mic to let them finish the lyrics for him. It’s an impressive level of engagement for an act whose only other player is on the turntables behind him.

Even when the beats’ cadence slowed for cuts like “25 Bucks” and “Pneumonia,” Brown managed to battle through a common pitfall for performers with a similar setup: boredom. Brown, no matter the song, offered no less than his full attention to the set. The audience felt it.

That’s the reason, more than anything, that the MC has been successful in his live iterations. He can’t lean on a live band or any backup dancers, nor does he need them. As closer “When It Rain” finished up, Brown stood centerstage once again, tongue out, hand up, lording over a still-roiling mosh pit.

Check out our daily ACL coverage with previews, reviews, interviews, photos, and more.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Danny Brown
Danny Brown: All Grown Up
Danny Brown: All Grown Up
Detroit MC kicked a chronological power hour Sunday

Bryan Rolli, Oct. 24, 2016

More by Abby Johnston
Texas Platters
The Belle Sounds
The Sea Within (Record Review)

Sept. 7, 2018

Beach House Storms the Moody
Beach House Storms the Moody
Neo-gothic atmospherics come on like a hurricane

Aug. 1, 2018


Danny Brown, ACL Fest 2017


Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle