Review: Chance The Rapper at Field Day 2017

January 4th 2017

Chance The Rapper Field Day 2017 by Anthony Berlangieri

Photo: Anthony Berlangieri 

‘How much Acid Rap do you think he’ll play?’

‘I heard he cancelled last night in Perth!’

‘Man, if Gambino comes out with him…’

Field Day feels slightly tense as I wait for Chance the Rapper’s set to start. Chano’s first ever Sydney show should be the perfect way to start the year after his year-long victory lap of 2016. It might be a cliché, but Chance’s unbridled optimism and energy seems hugely necessary to everyone at Field Day: the hungover, the still-partying, the dudes desperately trying to roll ciggies from mostly-empty pouches.

And then he walks out, in his stage uniform of sorts – an Adidas ‘3’ cap perched on his forehead and his band immaculately dressed behind him. He starts, and it’s a little surprising that the first fifteen minutes lean heavily on his second (and best, in this writer’s opinion) mixtape, Acid Rap. However, there’s one thing that becomes increasingly noticeable – Chance’s voice sounds pretty shot, hoarse and lacking the warm tones of his recordings. It’s made even more obvious by Chance’s lack of hype man, meaning that he’s doing all of the vocals onstage.

He gamely soldiers on, and the reliance on the boom-bap flow of his older stuff makes even more sense. He eventually arrives at his most recent mixtape, Colouring Book, but not before a detour through his most celebrated guest verses, putting the different sides of Chance on show. The pettiness of Action Bronson’s ‘Baby Blue’ and the spiritual enlightenment of ‘Ultralight Beam’ are the perfect exhibition of Chance’s psyche and dual identity.

The ‘god dream’ promised in ‘Ultralight Beam’ seems within reach during the set’s denouement. Chance trims songs like ‘Angels’ and ‘No Problem’ down to lean, guest-less live versions, and finishes with a beautifully realised ‘Blessings’, the horns soaring over Chance’s paean to his own luck.

And then he’s done. On and off in forty-five minutes.

Most of the crowd remains for Childish Gambino, but the energy never spikes during his set like it did for Chance. The infectiousness of Chance’s unrelenting positivity lifted everyone (briefly) into a better place – one where they weren’t so hungover, weren’t so exhausted, weren’t so cooked, and weren’t being rained on.

For forty-five minutes, Chance the Rapper made us all feel like better people.

Chance The Rapper Field Day 2017 By Anthony Berlangieri

Photo: Anthony Berlangieri 



Read more from Dom O'Connor