ACL Live Review: Denzel Curry

South Floridian MC booms and quakes and commands

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.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

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.


“Shake 88”
“Switch It Up”
“Black Balloons”
“This Life”
“Clout Cobain”
“Look At Me!” (XXXTentacion tribute)

Denzel Curry

Saturday, Oct. 12, 2pm, Honda stage

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 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 Denzel Curry
Live Music Recommendations for the Weekend
Live Music Recommendations for the Weekend
Brrrr ... here's some tunes to warm you up this weekend

The Music Staff, Oct. 19, 2018

SXSW Music Live: At the Drive-In
SXSW Music Live: At the Drive-In
Surprise set from reunited El Pasoans steals the showcase

Bryan Rolli, March 16, 2017

More by Derek Udensi
Riders Against the Storm Hit Their Stride With <i>Flowers for the Living</i>
Riders Against the Storm Hit Their Stride With Flowers for the Living
Three-time winners of the Austin Music Awards' Band of the Year honors keep building community and creativity

Feb. 26, 2021

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Feb. 26, 2021


Denzel Curry, ACL Festival 2019, Megan Thee Stallion

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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