All photos by Julian Ramirez.
Last week, Goose Island put on a series of interesting events, from a screening of iconic Chicago film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off to street art tours around town. All of this was leading up their made-up (but totally welcome) holiday of 312 Day, named for their flagship wheat ale, which in turn was named after downtown Chicago’s famed area code. Honestly, could you ask for a better made-up holiday? Goose Island finished off their weeklong celebration at House of Vans with an exuberant show featuring the ever-entertaining Danny Brown and local favorite Joey Purp!
As with every show at House of Vans, the atmosphere was incredibly invigorating. There is just something about the venue that breeds a genuine friendliness, making for some of the best crowds I’ve seen in Chicago. Then the little added touches of Goose Island’s, like the 312 display, the bright yellow telephone booth, and the skateboard deck art raising money for charity all gave the event a special feeling that was heightened by the night’s performances.
Joey Purp started out the night with an excellent set, as if he has any other mode. Before he came out there was a short DJ set that felt a little unneeded. Purp’s way with the crowd is enough to get them going and he showed that the second he emerged from the back. Just like the last time I saw him perform at the Goose Island Block Party, Purp was energetic and full of charisma on stage. Splashing the crowd with water bottles and smashing down songs off iiiDrops like “Morning Sex” and “Photobooth,” Purp had the crowd completely under his spell.
When it came time for Danny Brown, the crowd was at its most electric. Brown’s DJ skywlkr came out first and didn’t start a short set as some would expect. Instead he played Brown entrance music, a gnarled and slightly remixed version of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”, allowing for the always jovial Brown to step to the stage and bask in the bright glow of House of Vans’ lights. There was nothing that could match the crowd’s hype and he dove into “Die Like a Rockstar.”
In a sea of typical rappers with flows and cadences that sound just like everyone else, Danny Brown is a true original with his insane style. His voice is high pitched to the point of nearly being grating, but the way he handles it during songs like “Dip” make it exactly the perfect sound you want to hear. Add in his high energy as he jumps around stage and his emphatic hand raises paired with his tongue sticking out as far as it can go that hypes the crowd at the end of each song, and you have one of the funnest performers to see.
Highlights of the set came right around the middle of the set with “Ain’t It Funny” and “Really Doe.” This was Brown at his most wild as his yelping shriek call of “ain’t it” prompted crowd’s frenzied response of “ain’t it funny how it happens”. Here his flow just pours out so rapidly and succinctly that it’s impossible not to find yourself bouncing along. “Really Doe,” which on the record has Kendrick Lamar, Ab-soul, and Earl Sweatshirt commanding most of the track, shines with just Brown’s verse taking the spotlight.
Danny Brown returned for an encore of sorts, immediately letting the crowd know he didn’t remember any more songs. Instead Brown had a standup set of sorts, hilariously riffing with the crowd and divulging details of a well known and lurid event that happened in his onstage career. As he joked, defended, and lamented the loss of touring insurance due to getting a blowjob on stage, Brown seemed at his most relaxed and thankful. The show had ended and the crowd was utterly satisfied with another fantastic show at House of Vans.