Live Review

Danny Brown, The Ritz, Manchester: an absurd and capitvating rollercoaster

26th May 2024

Breathless, reckless and impossibly fast throughout.

With its sprung floors and dramatic backdrop, tonight’s former ballroom in Manchester makes for the perfect environment for Danny Brown’s fans to find their own relationship with his characteristic frenzy.

With 2023 boasting not one but two headline albums, solo effort ‘Quaranta’, and in rap’s newest super-duo ‘Scaring the Hoes’ with JPEGMAFIA, Danny is almost overloaded with new songs an expectant audience is excited to hear. After introducing himself with a trademark giggly “Hi I’m Daniel!” he rips through a four track run, all picked from ‘Quaranta’. The set, it emerges, has been neatly portioned into distinct eras, allowing the nuance and dexterity of his later albums to sit comfortably alongside the excess and intensity of the good old days. Dipping into the iconic and skittering ‘Lie 4’ and ‘Monopoly’, it’s obvious that between the shoutout lines “Nah, literally, shit on your mixtape!”, the furious bouncing and the pulsing strobe no one is going home with anything left in their fuel tank.

From the first bars of ‘Steppa Pig’ there’s an electricity in the room that’s unmatched, as everyone is given their first live taste of ‘Scaring the Hoes’. Clearly, if the pair could find the time in their diaries that’s a joint tour that would be shaking the doors off their hinges. Spat out at a breathless intensity the songs are made even briefer and knife-sharp with JPEGMAFIA’s verses left out, somewhere between a medley and blazing inferno of off-kilter party-starting rap at its finest. The group’s anthem, ‘SCARING THE HOES’ manages to receive one of the most wrist-breakingly fast handclaps to offer up one’s arms to.

Danny Brown, The Ritz, Manchester Danny Brown, The Ritz, Manchester

It's breathless, reckless and impossibly fast throughout. Curated and choreographed by Danny, with his two tone red/green closely shaved head, sunglasses and leather and PVC outfit, at points the whole event looks more like a still from an anime than any average gig.

‘Ain’t It Funny’ later creates a grinding mosh in between its neon strobes, like a melee in a cyberpunk bar. A small island of calm and restraint is found in the last song of the set, ‘Grown Up’, a celebratory and uplifting inclusion with its refrain of “Whoever thought I’d be the greatest growing up?”.

Not one to finish without an ear-perforating bang, Danny has his finisher fully in mind. From the piercing alarm opening notes, his collaboration with Scottish producer Rustie, ‘Attak’ is instantly recognisable as one of the seismically devastating tracks of the 2010s. Raising into a stomping, shouting, ferocious crescendo, the set ends on the biggest knockout blow of all.

At one point Danny apologises for not going quite as hard as he once did, “I’m 40 years old! I don’t drink, I don’t smoke… one year sober!”. The sweat drenched crowd responds with one of the loudest cheers of the night. As one of the most unique, creative, influential and genuinely likeable voices in rap for nearly a decade and a half, not a person in the room would change Danny Brown for anything.

Tags: Danny Brown, Reviews, Live Reviews

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