Tonight, Zack and I ventured into Dinkytown to catch Donald Glover’s show at The Varsity.
It was billed as Donald Glover + Childish Gambino, and was a mix of both his stand up (very little stand up, about 20 minutes at the beginning) and his music (hip hop as Childish Gambino) with a little video comedy mixed in for good measure.
First off, I’d never been to The Varsity before, but I love the space. It has a dingy chic to it–if it was all cleaned up it wouldn’t be as comfortable to hang out there and if it was more run down it wouldn’t be comfortable to hang out there. But as it was, it felt just right. Also, there were chandeliers next to disco balls!
Zack and I got there early enough to just hang out for a while before the show (I got there really early, since I had to locate parking in Dinkytown and really didn’t want to deal with rush hour traffic). I found a little lot a block away and got a sweet spot and then just hung out and read for a little bit. Zack had a job again today, so he was pushing it when it came to the time. I joined the line at about quarter past six and it was already halfway down the block. He got there just after the doors opened at seven. Fortunately, it wasn’t seated like Zoe Keating was last night, so we didn’t have to worry about saving seats or anything. We just found a nice spot and hung out until it was time.
We had to hang out for a while amidst the college kids, the hipsters, and the hipster college kids. There were several dumbasses that were already staggeringly drunk before Donald Glover even entered the building. It was kind of sad really. Pretty happy that I never got that bad when I was in undergrad (though I’m sure there were a few occasions of epic drunken stupidness, I was a pretty mild drinker–social drinking most definitely, sometimes to excess, but I never drank for the purpose of getting shitty drunk). So we chilled and at a quarter past eight Donald Glover took the stage.
He did comedy first, and it was very funny. Since it was a standing room crowd we had a bunch of tall guys in front of us, and Glover is a limber comedian, moving high and low and using his expressive face in his routine, so we lost some of the impact.
Once he started with the music though it was a party. He rapped and sang with intensity and had an epic amount of talent and tight lyrics. By the end of the night his voice was nearly gone, but it just seemed to fuel the passion behind the lyrics. Fantastic show.
It wouldn’t be right to write about his music without sharing some. The lyrics really aren’t SFW, but using intelligent phrasing mixed in with street idioms, he brings a lightness to the back and forth pull in his creative life: he is a comedian, an actor and a rapper, but he’s not a gangsta thug–he’s a nerd and a smart guy. There is a conflict in the role that he should be and instead of falling into a category that someone paints for him, a stereotype, he grabs what he wants and makes his own path.
Not Going Back
Lights Turned On
Freaks and Geeks
And to show some of the things he’s up to on NBC with Community …
Overall, it was a fantastic night. Been a good week overall too. And I can’t really complain too much, Zack’s been doing 14 hour days that are starting at 6 in the morning. That shit sucks!
More later …