daily californian logo

BERKELEY'S NEWS • JANUARY 31, 2023

Ring in the New Year with our 2023 New Year's Special Issue!

Duckwrth brings new music, same old charisma to New Parish

article image

TARA BYERS | COURTESY

SUPPORT OUR NONPROFIT NEWSROOM

We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

In a quaint Oakland venue full of hip-hop fans — some with little-to-no knowledge about the night’s headliner and many others with intimate knowledge of his alternative rap projects — the only known certainty was this: The pink-haired man on stage was going to be a star one day, if he hadn’t earned that title already. 

Duckwrth flaunted the fluidity of his catalogue’s sound at the New Parish on Sept. 7 in a concert that briefly featured the artist’s friend Jordan Ward. Despite the closeness built into the New Parish, dramatic lighting from the tech crew and Duckwrth’s punk-edged showmanship allowed the show to straddle both thrasher energy and in-your-feelings intimacy at will. When throwing it back to the moshpit sound of an earlier project “Nowhere,” the artist was able to command some movement from his audience in the limited floor room by jamming out under flashing red lights. During his more minimal numbers, however, the artist maintained a subtle and smooth groove, leaving his audience to settle into a herd captivation by his vibrant aesthetic.

Despite the limited potential for dancing, the crowd was consistently emphatic with its vocal participation. During the upbeat hit “Tuesday,” a song about treating your work day like the weekend, Duckwrth’s audience repetitively chanted “get it” with all the emphasis of a people who had, indeed, gathered for a fun night out during the middle of the week. The artist sonically thrived in the freedom given to him by such a responsive audience, rapping hard on the verses while letting his audience handle the overlapping lyrics of the chorus. Beloved songs from his third album, such as “Money Dance” and “Super Bounce,” were also prime examples of the chemistry between the night’s audience members and their leader of youthful energy, who was able to maintain a balanced trinity between himself, a glowing backup singer and a captive audience.

Though Duckwrth had left his fans little time to get familiar with the new album SG8*, as it was only released a week prior to his performance, there was no hype lacking when the artist transitioned to his newest music. During a performance of the record’s opening track “We Outside,” the rapper guided his viewers through a subtle dance and sing-a-long section to the chorus’ question, “Was your pandemic poppin’?” While wrapping up the show later in the night, he even surprised the audience by jumping once more into the tune, effectively testing the engagement. Through the magic of muscle memory, the crowd recalled both the lyrics and their corresponding arm movements with impressive unison and enthusiasm.

Although Duckwrth managed to hold his audience’s attention without relying on all of his biggest hits, the undeniable highlight of the night came when he pulled out his beloved anthem from last year’s SuperGood album: “Kiss U Right Now.” The fans’ sweet anticipation for this number was fulfilled instantaneously at the drop of the bass and the song’s first line, “I think I want to kiss you.” The singer savored his most vocal-heavy song for a few choruses before allowing the band to take the reins. Fresh piano chords and soulful guitar riffs created a euphoric addition to a usually simplistic song, and the sheer glee of the audience remained palpable into the night’s end.

Just as Duckwrth is a noncommercial rapper-songwriter who has held a purposefully erratic relationship with his own genre for around a decade, it’s only fitting that his concert felt like a random kickback with mosh tendencies. Judging by the buzz of his audience at the end of the show, it was clear that Duckwrth left concertgoers feeling as carefree as his writing style and hungry to live out his “Tuesday” philosophy.

Nurcan Sumbul covers music. Contact her at [email protected].
LAST UPDATED

SEPTEMBER 22, 2021


Related Articles

featured article
While the complexity of Tame Impala’s artistry may seem difficult to perform live, its performance sounded just as good, if not better, than the recordings.
While the complexity of Tame Impala’s artistry may seem difficult to perform live, its performance sounded just as good, if not better, than the recordings.
featured article
featured article
The record sees Lil Nas X coming into his own, churning out both raucous, whiplash-inducing chart-toppers and tapping into a wellspring of contemplative material anchored by his artistic identity.
The record sees Lil Nas X coming into his own, churning out both raucous, whiplash-inducing chart-toppers and tapping into a wellspring of contemplative material anchored by his artistic identity.
featured article
featured article
It’s one of a kind, unapologetically discussing the ups and downs of life all whilst commemorating the talent and mourning the loss of band member Groggs.
It’s one of a kind, unapologetically discussing the ups and downs of life all whilst commemorating the talent and mourning the loss of band member Groggs.
featured article