Donald Glover, otherwise known as Childish Gambino, was booed off stage last night during his headline show at The Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle. The show was announced less than two weeks before the performance, prompting many fans to frantically compete for tickets on the venue’s Facebook page, with some vowing to travel all the way from Melbourne if they won. However by the time the show was over, most were regretting ever showing up.
The artist was reportedly joined onstage by his crew, Royalty, and spent the first 40 minutes of the show DJing a set of his favourite tunes behind turn tables before he even said a word. Meanwhile his crew members rapped and joked with the audience. Glover finally took to the mic to show off the lyricism that brought the crowd in the first place, but by then many fans were unimpressed and began booing and heckling the Atlanta rapper. Glover was visibly taken back by the crowd’s response, leaving just after a final solo falsetto performance, which was followed by the few people left in the crowd shouting obscenities . Some even called the hotel after asking for refunds.
A DJ playing his song ‘3005’ after his departure, seemed to briefly bring back hope as a handful of fans rushed back to the stage to hear the rapper perform, but began filing out of the venue once they realized it wasn’t going to happen.
Word began spreading of the disastarous show with The Cambridge Hotel posting a 15 second clip of Glover towards the end of the show.
“Cool video. Did you film the part where he was booed off stage and we were all left disappointed?” one user commented.
The hotel released a statement on their Facebook page the following morning apologizing for the show:
“To everyone who came to see Childish Gambino show last night we are as disappointed as all of you. We had the opportunity to present Childish Gambino to Newcastle in an intimate gig and we jumped at the chance as we aim to bring the best possible acts to Newcastle for music lovers. As seen last night, unfortunately we have no control over the acts performance once on stage. For those that aren’t aware, Canberra and ourselves were 2 additional Childish Gambino shows that were promoted in the exact same way as part of his current tour and we were extremely excited to be presented with this opportunity. Subsequently he didn’t deliver on what was billed and expected by everyone, including us. The Cambridge strives to deliver Newcastle the highest quality live music possible and we will continue to do so. Like you, we were equally excited to present the act and its only matched by the disappointment in the performance by the act.”
However many are now criticizing the hotel for false advertising, and some are theorizing that Glover didn’t even know he was meant to perform a full show last night. The performance suggests that the venue booked Royalty (Glover’s crew) featuring Childish Gambino, but instead advertised it as Childish Gambino performing by himself. A small detail, but one that would justify why Donald was on the turn tables for the first half of the show.
The more I read and hear about tonight's gig the more I think Childish Gambino had no idea he was expected to perform a full show.
— Sam Rigney (@SamRigney) October 1, 2015
The rapper had appeared at a similar show earlier in the week at Sydney’s El Topo Basement, which was promoted as “Royalty (DJ set) feat. Childish Gambino, Steve G the Prince & Jo Swank” and went off without a hitch. Last night’s show on the other hand was billed as “Childish Gambino & Royalty”, and featured a huge photo of Glover. However Marcus Wright from Big Apachee, the event promoter behind the show, told The Guardian Australia that they expected a full show from Glover, saying “as per the contract that we have signed, honoured and paid for. There are no words in the contract about a DJ set.” Wright even claimed that Glover and his crew adjusted their set shortly before getting on stage without informing the promoters they had done so.
So clearly someone screwed up here, the only question is who. Either Glover was dishonest with the promoters, or they were dishonest with their customers and are now trying to throw the rapper under the bus.
Wright said promoters were in the process of discussing with Cambridge the possibility of giving a partial refund to patrons, and would be making an announcement about it later in the day.
The show was part of a line of sideshows as Glover gets ready to headline the upcoming dance music festival Listen Out. The rapper has now cancelled a Friday sideshow performance at Canberra’s Academy Club, which will be taken over by Australian DJ Alison Wonderland, but Glover’s remaining Sydney and Brisbane festival shows are still expected to happen this weekend.