Danny Brown Claridge Stage, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa ON, July 3

Danny Brown Claridge Stage, LeBreton Flats, Ottawa ON, July 3
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
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When Danny Brown began gaining traction in 2011, many lauded his workmanlike approach to the otherwise bloated hip-hop genre. So when Brown stepped out on stage to open the 2014 edition of Ottawa's Bluesfest — without a hypeman and decked out in leather, a green mohawk and a Guns N' Roses T-shirt — it was apparent that the Detroit rapper was ready to give the audience a gritty, bullshit-free performance.

After a ten-minute set from his DJ, Designer Skylar, Brown went on to hit the crowd (comprised mostly of teenage boys) up with dealer-friendly songs like "Molly Ringwald," "Smokin & Drinkin" and his Darq E Freaker feature, "Blueberry (Pills & Cocaine)." Cycling between three on-stage movements — sticking out his tongue, grabbing his crotch and giving the "devil horns" — Brown kept the energy high, revelling in the call-and-response treatment the audience were providing him on tracks like "Blunt After Blunt" "Kush Coma" and "25 Bucks."

Although a six p.m. performance time rarely brings the party, Brown worked hard to draw the crowd into his sleazy, drug-fuelled persona. As he exited to chants of "Danny! Danny! Danny!" that threatened to drown out the pop-country sounds of Dean Brody on the Main Stage, it was apparent that Brown's rock, EDM and hip-hop sensibilities create nothing less than an inviting and laid-back atmosphere.