Childish Gambino thrills at the House of Blues

A review of Childish Gambino at the House of Blues on November 2, 2011

, Managing Editor

He may make a living getting people to laugh and go by the moniker Childish Gambino (which he got from a Wu Tang Clan name generator) but when it comes to hip-hop, Donald Glover is showing that he’s not kidding around. The comedian and now rising rap star proved his point with a sold out show at the House of Blues on Wednesday.

Glover’s last tour, appropriately titled “IAMDONALD”, was a mix of both comedy and music, which stopped at the Paradise Rock Club in May. Currently focusing on just the music, Glover’s taking a huge step forward as he tours to promote his upcoming release Camp, which will be his first album in print. Selling out the House of Blues showed that not only is Gambino serious, but fans are taking it quite seriously as well.

The backstory behind Childish Gambino is already interesting enough –  Glover is a comedian, actor, and writer who has worked on shows such as “30 Rock”, “The Daily Show” and currently “Community”, and now he’s on the verge of being Hip-Hop’s next big thing. Still, what separates Childish Gambino from the rest is that he’s doing something that no one else is. There aren’t many in the game right now who are making their own beats and recreating them live every night with a four-piece band, let alone singing their own hooks and choruses. Glover’s vocal are actually up to par with his rapping, with a smooth falsetto that especially stands out on tracks like “So Fly” and “Be Alone”.

A Gambino show thrives on Glover’s energy. The MC bounced around stage all evening, and had the crowd hopping along with him to “Lights Turned On” and new single “Bonfire”, which got an extra boost from his percussionists. The hard-hitting “Bonfire” followed fellow Camp tune “You See Me”, where Glover’s comedic side shined through with lines like, “Can I stay at your place? No Hobo” and continuous references to Asian girls (something that comes up in a number of his songs). Of all the new material played, “Heartbeat” sounded the most radio-ready with a heavy beat and distorted vocals which accentuated Gambino’s fiery verses.

Glover returned for a three song encore which he capped off with “Not Going Back”, which seemed like an appropriate ending for a star who appears destined to move forward. With a sold out show in Boston, Glover proved that Childish Gambino is no joke, and if you’re not listening yet then the jokes on you.

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