By Marc Butcavage, Staff Writer
Halloween this year was a night riddled with uncertainty. What exactly do you do when a holiday of this caliber falls on a Monday? Partying seemed out of the question given its placement in the week, not to mention the lasting effects of the weekend still swirling in your stomach. Even still, I found myself and a few friends driving to Brooklyn at 7:00PM, exactly one hour after tickets went on sale for a small secret show to debut Childish Gambino's new album Camp. I lamented how given his recent popularity, tickets would be sold out by the time we arrived, which was met with calls of "pessimist!" and "Debbie-downer!" Needless to say, we got tickets.
For those who are still in the dark about Childish Gambino, it is the project of Community star and DerrickComedy alum Donald Glover. With his new album now available for pre-order, it only seemed suitable to debut it to a Halloween crowd at the rather impressive Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley/bar and restaurant with an impressive menu and decent house brew. The show packed a decent crowd, considering the late announcement and prior Halloween plans, though it still remained fairly intimate regardless.
Prior to Childish Gambino taking the stage, a female DJ whose name went unannounced took the stage for a short set, which got the crowd dancing as Donald and some friends bowled in the first lane next to the stage. After a short grace period between acts, the band took the stage along with a small choir and Childish Gambino.
The show promised nothing more than a full run-through of the new album, and it did not disappoint. Despite poor vocal acoustics, leading to many of the lyrics sounding muddled, the energy was overwhelming. The band, who had two days to learn all of the material, sounded as though they had been rehearsing for weeks, and added a certain depth to the usually electronic backings found on past albums. As for Donald, his energy was incredible without being flashy or over the top, with a flow that has remained consistent over the course of his budding career. For someone who started rapping as a hobby to kill time between TV season shoots, he has definitely risen through the ranks of underground amateur to someone who demonstrates musical know-how that most professionals could not attain without a team of producers hiding in the mixing booth.
After finishing the album, Donald performed a few crowd-pleasers, including the popular "Freaks and Geeks," and closed with an encore medley performance. The show itself was one of the more high-energy shows I've seen in a long time, and I could tell that everyone involved was having a great time with the material they were given. If the show was any indication of what to expect from the album, I'd say to expect something fresh, with the same clever sensibilities you've come to expect from Childish Gambino.