IT WAS a night Cambridge Hotel licencee Dru Russell expected to cement his pub's standing as one of Newcastle's premier live music venues.
Instead, it is shaping as a logistical nightmare as he and the event's promoter face a torrent of angry fans demanding refunds after a bizarre show.
Mr Russell said he "didn't bat an eyelid" when the chance to bring Gambino, also known as Community actor and comedy writer Donald Glover, to town to play an exclusive show as he toured capital cities with the Listen Out festival.
Instead, fans were regaled by relatively unknown group Royalty, which featured the rapper but kept him silent for the first 40 minutes of their roughly 75-minute show.
Speaking to the Herald on Friday, licencee Dru Russell said he and his staff went into Thursday's show with the same expectations as the paying punters.
"Me and the staff were gutted," he said.
"We were expecting the same as everyone else."
Mr Russell said claims Gambino was booked for a DJ set were wide of the mark, arguing the Newcastle and Canberra shows were expected to be intimate concerts as advertised.
"Those two were the intimate shows and both were promoted exactly the same," he said.
Mr Russell said he expected rap group Royalty, who did most of the heavy lifting during the supposed Gambino set, to be a support act.
"I thought they might get up and do a bit of stuff with him, but not the main show," he said.
The Cambridge and promoter Big Apachee are having ongoing discussions, Mr Russell said, and would contact ticket holders directly.
A refund is one of the matters under discussion, he said, but he said he had no timeframe for when a resolution would be reached.
In a wider statement the Cambridge said they jumped at the chance to bring Gambino to Newcastle.
"As seen last night, unfortunately we have no control over the acts performance once on stage," the venue said in a statement.
"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."
Promoter Big Apachee shared the Cambridge's statement on its Facebook page.
"Big Apachee, Bigtix and The Cambridge Hotel are all incredibly disappointed in the outcome of last night's show," the company said.
"We all worked very hard in booking a great act for a great venue and unfortunately the act did not deliver on what was billed.
"We were very excited to bring such a great act to Newcastle and it is unfortunate that we cannot control the act's performance once on stage."
Childish Gambino is yet to publicly comment on the show.