Concert Review: Earl Sweatshirt Live at The Commodore Ballroom

Tuesday 16th, April 2019 / 12:51
By Graeme Wiggins

Photo by Darrole Palmer

The Commodore Ballroom
April 15th, 2019

Photo by Darrole Palmer

Rap shows aren’t known for their punctuality, so when Earl Sweatshirt took the stage 20 minutes early it was a little bewildering. This continued into the performance. One doesn’t name an album I Don’t Like Shit and I Don’t Go Outside without being somewhat of an introvert, but there was a calculated distance in the performance that was definitely atypical of a rap show.

Photo by Darrole Palmer

Even on more high energy tracks like “December 24 (bad acid)” Earl rarely moved quicker than a lackadaisical stroll. It wasn’t quite low energy, but neither was it notably intense. The crowd ate it up however, screaming words alongside his seemingly nonchalant delivery.

He moved through songs quickly, playing fragments of about 20 or so, with a slight focus on newer material, and the pace just blurred it all together.

The short songs from Some Rap Songs juxtaposed with the claustrophobic, bass heavy production of some of his earlier work was disorienting in a good way that really captured the essence of his albums.

The show ended with about 10 minutes of his DJ playing some rap classics and there was no encore; a mystifying ending to a half-baked evening.