The bromance between the man and his rapper alter ego took the stage at this year’s Bonnaroo Festival, proving that performances are made better by an artist’s love for his own music. Thousands of fans congregated to the middle of a farm in Tennessee for the highly-anticipated set, and their enthusiasm was matched by the man of the hour. As the crowd rocked out to songs stamped as “their sh*t” from Gambino’s catalog, it was evident that the roundup of tracks were his sh*t as well.
But Gambino’s set was no display of egomania. Instead, the rapper created a safe haven for zeal, allowing his audience to reveal their utmost appreciation for the occasion. Backed by an exceptional light show, standout tracks from Because The Internet, including “I. Crawl,” “IV. Sweatpants” and “II. Worldstar” were morphed into the soundtrack for a shared turn up with the man responsible. He was not too cool. He was not too far removed. He assumed the role of entertainer and fan.
Constantly professing his love for the more-than-engaged crowd, Childish Gambino flexed his plethora of musical ability with a healthy serving of his boastful metaphors and rangy vocals. With relentless communal energy, vibe-ridden tracks like Kauai’s “Pop Thieves (Make It Feel Good),” “The Palisades,” and the inescapably addictive “Sober” were as equally as enjoyable, as Young Bino was just as connected to each track as each adoring onlooker, evident by his contortionist dance moves. Loyalists were also rewarded with earlier cuts, including Culdesac’s “Do Ya Like,” and Camp’s “Heartbeat” and “Bonfire.” A glimpse was also given into unreleased work with new freestyle bars making their debut.
The wildly entertaining set wrapped with “3005,” an appropriate climax for a lovemaking session between Childish Gambino and everyone else.
Photo Credit: Stacy-Ann Ellis