WRVU gets an exclusive opportunity to cover press for Denzel Curry’s show at Marathon Music Works on September 17, 2022.

Photograph of Denzel Curry, photo by Alyssa Bersamin

It’s my third semester in Nashville trying to keep up with academics, extracurriculars, and—most importantly—musty, muscular men who mosh. I thought it was hard to go toe-to-toe with Belmont University girls at indie house shows, but the crowd at Marathon Music Works who came to see Denzel Curry, PlayThatBoiZay, redveil, and AG Club took moshing to the next level. While awkwardly bopping my head in the testosterone-fueled crowd waiting for the show to start, a girl came up to me and said, “I love that there are other girls here,” to which I incoherently responded with, “’A’int No Way’ is my favorite song!”  It’s easy to feel small in Nashville’s jam-packed venues, but the energy that night was extremely welcoming and it felt like a safe sea of sweaty people united in their support of Curry’s new era of authenticity.

Photograph of redveil, photo by Alyssa Bersamin

Openers have the important job of getting the crowd sufficiently excited for the main event, and up-and-coming Florida rapper Isaiah Loubeau (A.K.A PlayThatBoiZay) did not disappoint. He acknowledged that we may not be familiar with his songs but encouraged the crowd to just absorb the vibes and appreciate the lyrics. People seemed to take this to heart as Loubeau’s songs had everyone moving practically non-stop from beginning to end; if you didn’t reach your movement goal before the concert, you definitely did after his set. Loubeau expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to open for Curry, and this gratitude was quite evident in his performance.

Though I expected for things to calm down during 18-year-old Maryland-based rapper Redveil’s set, they didn’t… and that’s okay! The bass levels were hitting my soul extra hard, and at this point the crowd was moshing to anything and everything. I had my ‘f*** it’ moment, closed my eyes, prayed a little, and threw myself into madness. The ketchup remnants that were previously squirted onto my face from a Daddy’s Dogs Music City hotdog between sets was quickly wiped away from my acquired sweat by this point, and my adrenaline remained high.

The next act, a Bay Area hip-hop collective called AG Club, made a strong first impression by bringing out large cut-out props from their most recent album, Impostor Syndrome. Boy oh boy do they know how to control a crowd. Hands and bodies moved in all directions, and many in the audience were singing along. Each verse felt more powerful than the last, and of course, mosh pits were ubiquitous. By this point in the show, everyone was drenched in sweat. After closing with their hit song, “Memphis,” the energy in the room was at its apex, and we were ready for Denzel.

Photograph of Jody Fontaine and Baby Boy AG Club, photo by Alyssa Bersamin

The crowd began chanting “DENZEL! DENZEL! DENZEL!” and, before we knew it, he was running onto stage and the audience got rowdier than they already were. He opened with several songs from his newest album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future, and many people shouted all the lyrics back to him. Curry took a break to express that he was “over that perfect sh*t” and wanted to have more fun with his music career. As one does in 2022, he also talked about how nice it felt to be on stage in a room full of his supporters after the global pandemic, and the crowd went wild. 

After his brief heart-to-heart, he threw us back to his pre-pandemic work with songs from TA13OO and ZUU. Curry knew how to balance his high-energy hype songs with more lyrical and soulful ones. He pointed at fans who went bar-for-bar with him and ran back and forth across the stage to keep us engaged.

While it felt nice to be in the photo pit for a while, I knew I had to make it back into the crowd for “A’int No Way,” “Clout Cobain,” and of course “Ultimate.” I held onto my camera gear for dear life and moshed the hardest I ever had in my life. The crowd split into multiple smaller mosh pits, and I made my way through each one. Not only was it fun to see Curry’s high spirits in the flesh, but it was also fun to be immersed in such a lively crowd that matched his energy.

Photograph of Denzel Curry pointing at Nashville crowd, photo by Alyssa Bersamin

He brought us full circle by closing with “ULT” from his 2016 album Imperial. Though I wish he sang songs from UNLOCKED, it was surreal to hear the passion in Denzel Curry’s performances live. I walked out of the venue too energized to realize my feet were heavily bruised from all the moshing, but if you didn’t break a body part, did you really go to a Denzel Curry concert? Our eyes were definitely melted and I could see the ER in my future, but it was a night of pleasant discoveries and collective appreciation.

Mosh along here: