ACL Live Review: Denzel Curry
South Floridian MC booms and quakes and commands
By Derek Udensi,
10:05AM, Sun. Oct. 13, 2019
It’s blasphemous to suggest a majority of the throng that jumped many rows deep (and for nearly 50 minutes) at rapper Denzel Curry’s performance on the Honda stage Saturday afternoon weren’t his fans. The Carol City, Fla., flag bearer spat white-hot fire on an otherwise dreary afternoon.
The 2019 ACL Fest has seen several of its premier hip-hop acts either arrive late or cancel. Megan Thee Stallion’s name endlessly rang off the tongues of early Zilker Park attendees yesterday, but her no-show on the Miller Lite stage directly beforehand isn’t why an extensive crowd eventually filed in to partake in a furious frenzy. Curry atoned for his own late arrival (10 minutes) by running onstage to the tune of “Zuu,” the title track of his fourth studio album, which doubles as a nickname for his hometown.
Sonically, this 24-year-old finds peace in chaos. As a South Floridian MC, ear-shattering bass and knocking drums are par for the course, yet loud, booming quakes felt unexpectedly weak at times in relation to the gravelly voice of Denzel Curry. Mundane instructions to hype the crowd with [insert city name here] even carried the same throat-destructing vigor as Austin turned into “Aaaaaaahhhhsss-tin.”
On top of it all, his lyrics felt deeply sentimental and personal, while simple looks into the jumbotron cameras made proceedings feel more intimate.
Curry commanded people with nothing more than his energy, at times coming down to the mortals on the field mid-song to slap hands with them. Graphics weren’t fancy and sweat rested on his neck in 64-degree weather by set’s end. Fans far in the pit of bodies began to mosh unprompted well before Curry’s most popular song, 2015 single “Ultimate,” closed out his exhilarating display.
Announcing that he’d run out of time, Curry ended his show by going into the crowd.
Setlist“Zuu” “Ricky” “Aloha” “Shake 88” “Sumo” “Threatz” “Switch It Up” “Parents” “Black Balloons” “This Life” “Wish” “Clout Cobain” “Speedboat” “ULT” “Psycho” “Look At Me!” (XXXTentacion tribute) “Ultimate”