Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Show Review: Denzel Curry & Deniro Farrar at The Cat's Cradle Backroom

Deniro Farrar at the Cat's Cradle Backroom
This was the second night in a row in which I was at the Cat's Cradle, however, this time I was going to the Backroom. When I first entered the venue, they were mixing LCD Soundsystem's "Dance Yrself Clean" with A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation". I knew the night was going to be very interesting after delving into their pre-show playlist.

Opening the show were Greensboro rappers, Big Whiskey and Pscril. Without a DJ to mix their music, BW was left to play their music off his laptop. Regardless of the DJ situation, BW and Pscril sufficiently warmed up the crowd with some of great tracks such as "Hideaway" featuring Chapel Hill rapper Skyblew, "The Man of my City" featuring Spanish Harlem rapper Dave East, and Pscril's self-produced track, "Keep Strivin'". They ended the night with an awesome track called "Scottie Pippen", which got the crowd jumping and moshing. You can check out both rappers catalog of banger tracks on Big Whiskey's YouTube channel and Pscril's SoundCloud page.

Unfortunately, the next act, Body Games, was unable to make it due to "logistics beyond [their] control." I had first seen this Carrboro group perform at Kennedy Theatre during the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh. At their show back in September, they were joined on stage by Charlotte rapper, Well$, who was the act that followed Big Whiskey and Pscril. I was not too familiar with his raps, but he drew a pretty good crowd for his set. Well$ did some acapella raps in the middle of his set, which is always impressive. At the end of his set, he told the crowd to come see him at the merch table by saying "Come talk to me, I swear I'm not awkward."

Well$ left the stage soon after I finished my second Pabst, and the atmosphere in the Cat's Cradle Backroom was getting quite 'turnt'. Flat brim hats, basketball jerseys, and saggy skinny jeans were abound in this young crowd. Lana Del Rey was playing in the background as I ascended the stairs to the upper level to get a better view of the primary acts. Gazing down at the sound guy, Deniro Farrar's manager Meko was using his phone to illuminate the setlist (SCORE!). DuRu Tha King was up next followed by JK the Reaper, and closing the night was Denzel Curry with a 40 minute set and Deniro Farrar with a 45 minute set. As I was leaning over the railing, I looked to my left and caught a glimpse of Deniro Farrar and his crew hanging out in the green room.

A few minutes later, DJ Trap hit the stage to warm up the crowd with some of his beats. He is Deniro Farrar's road DJ and enjoys playing some EDM-rap fusion. When he dropped tracks at Kennedy Theatre, they fell on deaf ears, as the crowd was fairly empty as most had been drawn to The War on Drugs show. However, he dropped several tracks that had a dubstep / brostep vibe that got the crowd jumping and moshing again.

DuRu Tha King came out to a warmed up crowd, and started dropping his own tracks. There were a few tracks that stood out above all else, one of which was "Smoked Out". You could smell a hint of ganja in the air. He ended his set with a track he played with Deniro Farrar at Hopscotch, "Social Status", however, this time it was sans-Farrar. Check out DuRu Tha King's 12-track mixtape Indoor Plus + on his DJ Booth page.

JK the Reaper, another Greensboro native, followed DuRu's set with his own DJ, Posh Shabbat (who also DJs for Denzel Curry). He had some serious sound issues, with some truly horrible reverb. One girl shouted "Don't let that get you down!" and others started a "JK" chant. The one line that stuck with me was "I feel like the rarest Yugioh card". The energy in the Backroom was palpable, as you see many locals dap each other and other friendly gestures. From atop by perch, I had a full view of all the different social groups and cliques in the venue, and overall, the crowd was VERY diverse. Before JK The Reaper's set ended, Denzel Curry came out on stage in his Xanax hoodie and started with one of his biggest tracks, "Parents".

Soon after hitting the stage with his backwards Darth Vader mask, he took off his Xanax hoodie to reveal a Stankonia shirt (major props). Many times during his set, Denzel would climb up on the leftmost speaker and eat bars like a pill-head. Halfway through Denzel's set, he picked two guys from the front row and split the crowd in two. He then instructed that the two lucky guys were the 'leaders' of the left and rights sides of the crowd, respectively. Once the beat dropped, the crowd went WILD and started moshing! I took a video of it, but it did no justice to truly express the insanity that was unfolding a few feet below the balcony, as people were getting knocked around, hitting the floor, pushing and shoving. Denzel closed his set with his biggest hit, "Threats", which is one of his trappiest bangers. Trap arms and bow-flexing soon followed.

DJ Trap came back out a few minutes after Denzel Curry's set came to a close and started dropping more of his EDM/Rap fusion tracks. The 'VIP' balcony next to me emptied out, which signaled the start of Deniro Farrar's set. His crew came out on stage first, but were quickly followed by the Charlotte-native, Dante Farrar a.k.a Deniro Farrar. He brought the bangers out first, with tracks such as the Ryan Hemsworth produced track "Big Tookie" and "Kill Your Idols". Much like his set during Thursday's Hopscotch lineup, he performed an acapella version of "Days Go By". His next track, "Fears", uses a slowed down version of Schoolboy Q's "Man of the Year", which got the crowd absolutely HYPE. Deniro commanded the crowd to wave "left, right, left, right". Deniro started handing out water bottles to the front row and said "Gotta keep you kids hydrated". After finishing one of his more recent releases, "Rebirth", Denzel Curry ran back out on stage! Deniro and Denzel closed out the night with their collaborative tracks "Bow Down" and "Feel Like That". These two young rappers have just blown up in the past year and just finished up the last stop of their Bow Down Tour, so expect some new collaborative work from them sooner rather than later.

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