Danny Brown and Action Bronson at Ogden Theatre, 9/17/13

Categories: Concert Reviews

Kenneth Hamblin III
Danny Brown on stage at the Ogden Theatre in Denver last night.

Danny Brown walked out in his $4,000+ outfit (or so I was told by a fashionable concertgoer) looking ratty as ever. It's amazing how, when combined with Brown's unkempt hair, missing front teeth and general aura of decay, even the most expensive outfits can look like they came out of a stinking pile of laundry. Brown is truly a champion a multiple worlds, and this diversity of taste is reflected in his versatility as a rapper and the eclectic set of influences his music draws from.

See also: A$AP Rocky at the Ogden Theatre, with Danny Brown, 10/16/12

At any given moment, Brown might be twisting tales with images too explicit for the sleaziest magazines -- 'hood vignettes of extreme poverty and debasement, depraved sex with no regard for convention, mountains of designer and old-school drugs and high fashion. Whatever subject Danny Brown is rapping about, he is delivering it in a way that is uniquely him, nuanced with a depth of emotion that touches on depression, hopelessness, swagger, libido and tongue-in-cheek humor, often simultaneously.

Kenneth Hamblin III

On "Toxic," where he features on a Childish Gambino song, not only does Brown connect unlikely rhymes that you've never heard before, he delivers them with a constantly changing cadence you've also never heard before. And he complements his beats as well as any rapper in recent memory. To wit, Brown has at least three different voices, two of which he uses in his live show: One, the high-pitched whine that bores into your brain and controls your mind like an earwig, and the other, a ratcheted-up, guttural bark that punctuates the sections of the music that hit particularly hard. Brown has a strong grasp of the energy of tune and how to manipulate it.

The recent catalog of Danny Brown is about as strong as it gets in rap today. Usually the same can be said of his live performance. This night, Brown didn't bring his A game: He messed up a bit on "Molly Ringwald." He was out of sync with the crowd, cutting out for audience participation when there was absolutely none, and he departed sans-encore for a disturbingly early 11:15 close with a seemingly disingenuous, "That's all the time I have." Despite all this, however, Brown was still a force to be reckoned with, one grade below his usual unstoppable self. With a new album, Old, fast approaching, that's a little disappointing. You would think Brown would be in balls-to-the-wall mode to convert as many fast fans as possible.

Kenneth Hamblin III

Brown's done a lot of work between XXX, his breakout mixtape, and Old, his debut album. The majority of Brown's setlist was comprised of these intermediate tracks, and though songs like "Kush Koma" and "Express Yourself," which might be on Old, were performed, the two tracks that will almost definitely be on the album, "ODB" and "Side A," were not. There was none of Brown's pre-XXX material, either. So while Brown probably left a fair few fans satisfied, those who have invested more time in both his new and old releases were likely left wanting more.

Keep reading for more on co-headliner Action Bronson's set

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