Denzel Curry lights up Frost Pageant with fluid rhythms and immersive vitality

Stanford Live performance Community held the 2023 Frost Music and Arts Pageant on Saturday at Frost Amphitheater. The occasion was headlined by Denzel Curry, and it additionally featured 070 Shake and Jean Dawson, together with scholar group and Battle of the Bands winner Common Consumption.

Three hours after the live performance began, the native Floridian Curry swaggered onto the stage in a dishevelled t-shirt and bucket hat. His efficiency reverberated with highly effective psychedelic vitality, with visuals dominated by the colour crimson, full moons, canine and even cops. A loud gunshot ended every tune, a nod to the violence that usually abruptly ends lives. 

Curry made seen efforts at viewers engagement. He traversed the stage attempting to see which sections of the gang might scream the loudest. Curry additionally known as on the viewers to maneuver bodily, urging us to lift our arms throughout his verses and “drop low” to the bottom to be able to soar up throughout beat drops. 

My favourite side of Curry’s craft is his capacity to effortlessly mix completely different rhythms collectively, which is clear in songs like “SKED.” I used to be amazed at how fluidly he might swap flows at various tempos to type a cohesive complete. 

Previous to this 12 months’s live performance, I had seen him carry out throughout his off-the-cuff bit within the iconic 2016 XXL Freshmen Cypher, wherein I felt he delivered the very best verse. His top-notch lyricism carried via on Saturday; his bars brimmed with distinctive self-reflection and social criticism. 

Curry’s set listing spanned subjects related to school college students, equivalent to psychological well being struggles and secret relationships, as highlighted within the tune “This Life.” His private conflicts got here via on “CLOUT COBAIN | CLOUT CO13A1N,” an emotionally uncooked tune referencing the tragic suicide of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana. His interesting sense of braggadocio shone via in songs like “WISH,” wherein he addresses his signature coiffure of thick dreads and charisma with ladies. 

After all, Curry would have been remiss with out performing “GOATED.”, a TikTok-famous tune by Armani White with a Curry function. The gang’s vitality was at its highest throughout “SUMO | ZUMO,” a masterful observe that includes a litany of references to American popular culture.

Viewers member Sean Sewell ’23 M.S. ’24 loved this 12 months’s competition, citing the robust vitality of Curry’s efficiency. “I assumed it was humorous the best way [Curry] saved his favourite new tune for the encore after a purposefully fast goodbye,” Sewell stated.

Rapper and singer 070 Shake carried out previous to Curry with a two-sided set — one subdued and the opposite stormy. The graphics projected within the background featured vivid colours and unusual photographs, which channeled her delicate and dynamic vitality. Beforehand, I had solely heard 070 Shake in a function on the TikTok-famous tune “Escapism,” however her energetic efficiency impressed me to seek for extra of her work, which deserves extra consideration.

070 Shake is performing to an adoring crowd.
070 Shake carried out to an adoring crowd at Frost Fest. (Photograph: ANANYA NAVALE/The Stanford Every day)

Scholar group Common Consumption kicked off the night with a various set of acquainted classics and unique songs. The band consists of bassist Noah Bartelt ’23 M.A. ’24, vocalist Grayson Armour ’23 M.S. ’24, drummer John Kohler ’22 M.S. ’23, lead guitarist Matyas Kisiday ’23 M.A. ’24, saxophonist Sidd Wali ’25 and keyboardist Sebastian Hochman ’26. After drawing within the viewers with the “Phineas and Ferb” theme tune “In the present day Is Gonna Be a Nice Day,” the group carried out a number of unique songs like “Bowdoin Avenue” and “Justine” earlier than doing a medley of covers. The set was bubbly, making easy transitions between moods and genres. 

Bassist Noah Bartelt ’23 M.A. ’24, vocalist Grayson Armour ’23 M.S. ’24, and keyboardist Sebastian Hochman ’26 are seen on stage performing.
Common Consumption carried out as the scholar opener for Frost Fest. (Photograph: ANANYA NAVALE/The Stanford Every day)

This 12 months was Egan Tardif’s ’26 first time attending Frost and he was not disenchanted: “Common Consumption was stellar. The saxophone simply killed it. I’d undoubtedly come again [to another festival].”

Reflecting on this efficiency alternative, Common Consumption bassist Bartelt stated “the expertise was flat out superior.” Based on Bartelt, closing on “Stacy’s Mother” began out as a joke between band members as they began enjoying it a 12 months in the past, however it has develop into one of many group’s calling playing cards, extensively anticipated by viewers members. 

“Frost is one thing that we now have been working fairly exhausting [toward] for the final quarter,” Bartelt stated. “To see all of it come to fruition was actually, actually rewarding,”

Editor’s Word: This text is a assessment and contains subjective opinions, ideas and critiques.

Sebastian Hochman ’26 is a employees author at The Every day.