Childish Gambino Live

Childish Gambino full of energy at the Sound Academy

Childish Gambino, a.k.a. Donald Glover a.k.a. Troy Barnes, is a renaissance man of the Internet Age. Writer, comedian, actor, rapper -- Glover does it all.

In town for a two-night showcase at the Sound Academy, offering up poor sightlines and all, for his Deep Web Tour, Gambino welcomed the weird in numerous ways. Akin to his sophomore album, Because the Internet, Gambino's live show is part-concept, part-frantic action, part-heavy assault and part-manic performance, as he dips into rapid-fire delivery on tracks like "Sweatpants" and "Crawl" and then segues into subdued jazz interludes with the back-up band. Note: Gambino has a solid falsetto in his arsenal.

Childish Gambino Live

Sporting a thick black sweater, Gambino, who, yes, got his hip-hop handle from a Wu Tang Name Generator, was slight with the stage banter. But when it came to performing his tracks, he delivered everything he had, running the full stage. By the end of the show, he was pretty much hoarse, but it didn't seem to diminish his high-energy flow.

Childish Gambino Live

With two large chandeliers dangling above the stage, the video backdrop would change from inside Gambino's suspected living room, to snow falling, to fire, to shitty late '90s Windows screen savers. And like the varied backdrops, Gambino's swift transfers from Weeknd-esque crooning into "Worldstar" with the crowd chanting along, the frenzied experience shed light on Gambino's version of the deep web. The tosses and turns, at first jarring, eventually become expected.

Childish Gambino Live

Highlights were varied and frequent, like during the encore, Gambino and Co. shifted from a musical interlude mashing tunes like "Got this Money" into the thumping bass line of Camp's "Heartbreak" and closing off with "Yaphet Kotto." The crowd reciprocated loudly and passionately. On tracks like "3005," where the audience can spit back every piercing lyric, you know Gambino has fueled many before-the-bar-amp-up playlists.

With the removal of the black sweater to a sweat-stained white tee and hoarse voice, Gambino broke out into a chill freestyle to bring the hour and a half show to a slightly abrupt ending.

And then we waited and waited in Sound Academy's ever-frustrating coat check line. We need the Internet to come up with a solution for that.

Childish Gambino Live

Photography by Matt Forsythe

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Music

New York Times dares to run headline asserting that Drake put Toronto on the map

Shawn Mendes teases new song and fans in Toronto can't wait to hear it

Toronto bar opening heated patio and live music venue this week

New Shawn Mendes video just dropped and people are loving how Toronto looks in it

Ridiculous story about Drake putting hot sauce in a condom inspires wild responses

Fans puzzled after Jack Harlow tells Drake that he likes Calgary more than Toronto

Shawn Mendes spotted filming at famous park in downtown Toronto

Sunwing is now famous for an influencer flight but the owner has roots in Toronto's jazz scene