After a steaming hot spring day, the evening changed to an overcast mood to welcome alternative rap’s prince of the moment Denzel Curry. After an unexplained venue change from the sweaty Malá Sportovní Hala to the open-air festival vibe of Žluté Lázně, the mood was decidedly upbeat to match the ‘My Kind of Summer’ title of the concert.
Held on the banks of the Vltava river with a small castle overlooking us, it was a great reminder of the global reach of hip-hop culture and how even here in central eastern Europe, art kids, metalheads and hip-hop heads young and old could find common ground in the music of artists like Denzel Curry.
Opener PlayThatBoiZay brought the energy and pockets of mosh pits responded in kind. His aggressive take on modern rap blended well with the mood, as concert-goers vented all kinds of energy pent up from two years of pandemic lockdowns. He was clearly impressed with the crowd and couldn’t stop expressing gratitude and smiling at the energy he got back.
Second support acts Opak Dissu represented the local scene well. Fresh-faced and eager to make an impression, they reminded me of an early Beastie Boys with the Gen Z swagger of a Brockhampton-like take on rap. They were self-deprecating and unassuming, with the crowd familiar with some of their hooks and raps. Must have been a big moment for the lads to support a huge act like Denzel in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
As the sun set and the rain started to spit down, Denzel Curry took the stage. His distinctive Dragonball Z-inspired hair silhouetted his head like a crown. He effortlessly led us through the summer festival vibe of his new material from Melt My Eyez, through his darker, edgier stuff from earlier in his career.
It was a cathartic journey as the crowd sang and moshed along to lyrics about suicide, abuse, addiction and more blasting through the speakers. Working through such issues in music allows fans to relate to it, despite any language or cultural barriers (the way the crowd pronounced ‘Den-zel’ in their chants was a charming little reminder of that).
It was a beautiful reminder of the unifying power of music. This was my first real concert/mosh pit since COVID-19 hit (my last big show before COVID-19 lockdowns incidentally was a sold out Stormzy show at Malá Sportovní Hala), and although I didn’t plan on getting in amongst it (being 32 years old now), I couldn’t help but be swept up by the positive energy and vibes at this Denzel Curry show.