Donald Glover Hosts Intimate Listening Party for Final Childish Gambino Album ‘Bando Stone,’ Featuring His 7-Year-Old Son, Flo Milli and More

Donald Glover’s Childish Gambino era is almost over, but first he has one more album (and a surprise film) to release to fans. Ahead of the July 19 release of his final album, “Bando Stone & the New World,” Glover played through every track at New York’s intimate outdoor venue Little Island.

The 687-seat amphitheater on Manhattan’s Little Island was sold out for the listening party, and some fans brought picnic blankets to lay out on the grass or flocked to the nearby rooftop park at Pier 57 to catch a faraway glimpse of Glover. It was a humid 90-degree Saturday night, but tickets sold out within minutes after they went on sale. As the sun set, a screen projected a live feed of Glover walking up to Little Island off the street, and cheers erupted when he entered the circular stage and began the show.

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Glover played 15 tracks out of order from “Bando Stone & the New World,” with styles ranging from the hard rap of “Camp” and “Because the Internet” to the experimental, pitched-up vocals of “Awaken, My Love.” If this really is Glover’s final album (at least as Childish Gambino), he’s going out with a mashed-up highlight reel of his career hits.

The two tracks that had nearly every attendee nodding their head along to the booming bass were “Talk My Shit” and “Yoshinoya.” The former includes a feature by Flo Milli and a pitched-up verse that Glover called his favorite on the album. After a brief technical issue with Little Island’s bass speakers, Glover returned to “melt faces off” with “Yoshinoya.” Glover spits verses angrily on track, telling off his haters and casting away any lingering doubt that he’s simply an actor who raps.

The other standout track, “Can You Feel Me?”, included heartwarming lyrics from Glover’s young son, Legend. The pair sing together over a chorus reciting the ABCs, with Glover touching on his own dad’s death and themes of family and fatherhood. It’s the most personal track off the album and marks one of the sweetest parent-child rap songs (sorry Drake and Adonis, and Kanye and North West!).

The other features on “Bando Stone” include Steve Lacy and Fousheé on a sentimental, stripped-down track called “Steps Beach.” Both artists sat front row at Little Island, and Lacy played some quiet guitar riffs while Glover sang a soft, relaxing melody. Fousheé returned for “Runnin’ Around,” a feel-good, rocking party anthem. Though they weren’t at the listening party, Yeat features on “Cruisin’,” a dramatic 2014 track that Glover only recently finished, and Jorja Smith and Amaarae sing on the groovy “In the Night.”

As the sun went down, Glover recommended people light up a joint or take an edible for the slow, ultra-vibey “No Excuses,” the longest track from the album. Before the show ended, he also played the intense techno song “Got to Be,” the laid-back, sunny instrumental “Happy Survivor” and the Eurodance, Daft Punk-esque “Place Where Love Goes.” Glover closed out the show with the recently released rock single “Lithonia,” where the entire crowd sang along.

Much like how Glover’s music soundtracked his 2019 short film “Guava Island,” “Bando Stone & the New World” is the companion to a sci-fi film of the same name. Not much is known about the forthcoming movie, but it stars Glover as a musician named Bando Stone who must survive the end of the world. He teams up with a woman and her son on a mysterious island as lasers from space and giant creatures terrorize them. The first trailer was set to “Lithonia,” but it’s unclear how the album’s songs will be used until it comes to theaters later this year.

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