JPEGMAFIA on stage at Bluebird Theater (Carlo Cavaluzzi)
Experimental hip-hop artist Barrington DeVaughn Hendricks, known as JPEGMAFIA, returned to Denver for his first show as a headliner Thursday at the Bluebird Theater. The show was part of the “JPEGMAFIA Type Tour” for his new album “All My Heroes Are Cornballs.” CU Independent’s review of the album can be found here.
JPEGMAFIA (or Peggy for short) made a name for himself with his wild performances earlier this year while touring for his 2018 breakout record “Veteran.” Wearing a bulletproof vest on his bare chest, Peggy came out prepared for chaos. He filled the stage with energy and frequently crowd surfed and jumped in the mosh pits while rapping.
The line in front of Bluebird Theater filled up very quickly hours before the show. His young audience arrived early, hoping to secure a spot close to the stage and at the heart of the action.
The show started with Butch Dawson’s DJ, Shido’s live set. He played a mix of crowd favorites from artists like Sheck Wes, Gucci Mane and Playboi Carti. Towards the end of the set, the sold-out crowd was energized and ready for live action.
When Butch Dawson took the stage, he quickly captivated the audience although his material was not very familiar to them. A heavy bass foundation and repetitive synth layers influenced by cloud rap characterized his songs. Trap also featured in some tracks, especially in certain hi-hat sections and the occasional triplet flows in his vocal delivery.
The crowd exploded the moment Peggy walked onstage. He greeted his fans with a few words and launched into his latest single “Jesus Forgive Me, I’m A Thot.” The relatively slow jam, by Peggy standards, didn’t stop him from racing side to side on the stage and immediately getting into his groove.
Tension and the restlessness grew with the slower track until the energy built with “Real Nega.” The explosive beat of the track, built on a distorted sample of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s moaning, quickly started waves in the crowd. Bluebird Theater is an intimate venue that has a leveled space, separated by steps and Outdoor Step Handrails. Although this layout prevented large mosh pits, it didn’t stop the crowd from matching Peggy’s energy with constant movement.
Before playing some of his songs, Peggy tested the audience by teasing the first few words. The response was consistently loud, as the roaring crowd called out the next words. The audience sang along loudly throughout most of the show, even when Peggy played songs from his lesser-known, earlier releases. He then played some fan requests and finished his set with two underrated tracks, “Free The Frail” and “Rainbow Six.”
Peggy’s ability to extend his explosive performance from an opening set to a headline act was impressive. Peggy kept his audience engaged and constantly moving throughout the show. He also occasionally joined the action by jumping on his passionate fans to carry him while rapping. With his long setlist and the handful of fan requests he played, Peggy performed most of the songs his fans came out to hear live. Undoubtedly, the concert proved to be one of the most memorable live music experiences this year.
“JPEGMAFIA Type Tour” has 12 more shows coming up, more information about the tour can be found here.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Altug Karakurt at firstname.lastname@example.org.