Deerhunter brings the funk (and weirdness) to LFK

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You never know what you’re going to get when you attend a Deerhunter concert. Obviously you go in expecting a rip-roaring attack of indie rock. Bradford Cox, lead vocalist, and team leader of the experimental rock group brings an expert level of charisma and unpredictability to his performance.

The show begins with Cox explaining, dressed in camo pants and a fur vest, that they’d begin by improvising a song about water lillies. Watching the song grow out of nothing more than a funky synth, it was like watching pure inspiration.

After warming up the pipes, Deerhunter took off in the six speed clunker down the K-10 highway. Jamming through killer live slayings of “Cover Me (Slowly)” and “Agoraphobia” it was evident that these guys do things onstage that most other bands only dream of. It’s something that they’ve learned in their 16 year existence. Great live music takes great live performers. And Deerhunter is exactly that.

Every member in the band killed it on multiple instruments. Their multi-instrumentalist percussionist played literally anything that could be a played. One of those Jamaican slide things, some strings with empty shells that you rub together, and no kidding, even a whistle. Dude was literally so official, that he got himself a whistle for the occupation.

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Bradford Cox was the main event though. Once he got going, he was a one man parade. After taking off the fur vest, he was revealed to be wearing not camo pants, but camo OVERALLS. Total game changer. He said he wore them specifically for Lawrence, one night only, because he could get away with wearing them here.

His banter was incredible. During an equipment problem with the drum pad, he improvised a song about loving dogs, and it was adorable and endearing, and true. Dogs are great.

The show kept rocking, and never stopped. The jamming was incredible. Songs could sprawl for minutes and it would be like no time went by. Come closing time, it was midnight and I started my cold walk home.

Deerhunter is a veteran rock and roll band that seriously knows how to deliver a fantastic live show. Complete with phenomenal rhythms, superb stage presence, and impressive jamming, this is a show anyone could appreciate. Next time, and every time Deerhunter is in my area, I’ll be there.

KONGOS kon-go all the way to the top of the charts

Here’s the pitch: It’s 4 brothers from South Africa, infusing rock, funk, neo-soul, and rhythm. Sounds promising, right?

KONGOS are a band of brothers. Their last name is literally Kongos- Johnny, Danny, Dylan, and Jessie- Kongos. So it’s fitting that their name is KONGOS; although The Kongos or The Brothers Kongos or The Kongos Family Band would’ve sufficed too. It’s just a cool name to have in the first place.

The sound quality these brothers brought together was pretty tremendous. The basslines were heady and full-bodied, and ontop, crazy drum rhythms being laid down by basically the bassist’s twin.

KONGOS guitarist features an instrument that I realized is a guarantee crowd slayer. The guitar slide. Any damn time this guy put that piece on his hand, he was like Peter Frampton on some Hendrix -level acid. The bending of notes made for powerful and intense guitar solos that were absolutely insane paired with the accordion.

Oh yeah, did I mention one of the brothers plays a fucking ACCORDION?! Yeah, you don’t come to a rock show in Lawrence, Kansas on a Wednesday and expect to see a kick ass accordion. That didn’t stop my man up there from laying down some of the wildest accordion solos I’ve ever heard. It was like a polka rave.

The songs the band played had very interesting qualities in each, and there were parts that showed incredible potential of being something really big. They’re creating original, catchy, and rhythmically powerful rock music. It’s infusing so many different styles and influences, plus the band chemistry between 4 brothers is something that cannot be replicated. The show felt more like the crowd was in KONGOS’ family garage next to Aunt Susan and the kettle cooked chips.

The only thing that threw me off on the night was the crowd. I need to preface this by saying I love elderly people. The average age of the crowd at this concert was probably 45. There was me and my buddy Sam, both 22. Then there were some high school kids, probably 10 X’ed out hands total. Then MAD OLD PEOPLE. Like 60-70 year olds. Like they got the night out at the home and went to a KONGOS show. I’ve never seen anything like it. The crowd at this show would look at the attendants of a Rolling Stones concert and be like “those crazy kids.”

There are some shows where you walk away learning something new about music, and this was one of those. I don’t exactly know what it is, I can’t put my finger on it. I think it’s something about integrity in music and pushing ones’ boundaries. I’ll track it down soon. But I know that last night, I learned that KONGOS is a name that should be remembered.

Well this year sucked, let’s try again next year; 2016 Best of List

So, 2016 was a burning shit and hair-filled diaper on a runaway trainwreck exploding on an Indian burial ground. So let’s look back at what didn’t suck, the music. Here’s the 50 best albums of the year. Let’s hope 2017 will have way less dead rockstars and Nazis.

  1. Car Seat Headrest- Teens of Denial
  2. A Tribe Called Quest- We got it from here, Thank you 4 your service
  3. Beyonce- Lemonade
  4. Radiohead- A Moon Shaped Pool
  5. Chance the Rapper- Coloring Book
  6. Bon Iver- 22, a Million
  7. Whitney- Light Upon the Lake
  8. Rihanna- ANTI
  9. Frank Ocean- Blond
  10. Blood Orange- Freetown Sound
  11. Kanye West- The Life of Pablo
  12. The 1975- I like it when you sleep….
  13. Young Thug- JEFFERY
  14. Mitski- Puberty 2
  15. PUP- The Dream is Dead
  16. Anderson .Paak- Malibu
  17. David Bowie- Blackstar
  18. Saba- Bucket List Project
  19. Pinegrove- Cardinal
  20. Schoolboy Q- Blank Face LP
  21. Angel Olsen- My Woman
  22. Mac Miller- The Divine Feminine 
  23. D.R.A.M. – Big Baby D.R.A.M.
  24. Solange- A Seat at the Table
  25. Danny Brown- Atrocity Exhibition
  26. Kaytranada- 99.9%
  27. James Blake- The Colour In Anything
  28. Frankie Cosmos- Next Thing
  29. Explosions in the Sky- The Wilderness
  30. Ty Dolla $ign- Campaign
  31. Public Access TV- Never Enough
  32. Noname- Telefone
  33. AHOHNI- Hopelessness
  34. Death Grips- Bottomless Pit
  35. Sunflower Bean- Human Ceremony
  36. Sturgill Simpson- A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
  37. Metallica- Hardwired…To destruct
  38. Skepta- Konnichiwa
  39. Leonard Cohen- You Want it Darker
  40. Glass Animals- How to Be a Human Being
  41. Swet Shop Boys- Cashmere
  42. Wilco- Schmilco
  43. LVL UP- Return to Love
  44. Dawes- We’re All Gonna Die
  45. Iggy Pop- Post Pop Depression
  46. Show Me the Body- Body War
  47. The Lemon Twigs- Do Hollywood
  48. Green Day- Revolutionary Radio
  49. Wild Beasts- Boy King
  50. Tove Lo- Lady Wood

a Festival Survival Guide

Croikey! It’s ya boy, Corey Wogalter and we’re about to plunge head first into the lawless and wild world of music festivals! Come along, and don’t be shy, it’s gonna get shvitzy.

Music festivals are the greatest things on this planet. They’re up there with freedom, doughnuts, and canceling plans to stay in. The reason why music festivals are great is a simple yet poignant one. It is the ultimate freedom. There has never been less responsibility than at a festival. Just three days of music, sunshine (or mud), and good vibes.

Add into that equation fantastic food, booze, and drugs, and you’re doing excellent! Now, finally, if you get tired from 3 days of perfect bliss, you can take a nap on the grass and nobody will mess with you.

However, there are some people who don’t share this passion and love for festivals with me. These are people who probably don’t know how to properly music festival. And I’m using that as a verb because there are some very, very, VERY important steps and tricks of the trade to be used if you want that perfect festival experience.

I am going to show you the playbook here, and walk you through the important steps you need to take for your next festival.

  • WATER. I really can’t emphasize this enough. Drink water, dude. Drink more of it than you think you need. Festivals are hot, humid and exhausting. If you’re drinking water, you’re giving your body what it needs. If you’re not, you’re basically telling your internal organs to go fuck themselves. And that’s not polite.
  • Bring in a little nosh. A Nature Valley bar or some almonds. Anything nutritious and will give you fuel is preferred. If you can sneak a pastrami sandwich in, please be my guest, but don’t make a mess when you stuff it inside your crotch.
  • A plastic poncho might be wise to tuck in the backpack. So festivals are best under a crystal clear blue sky, big bright sun, and perfect temperature weather. Tank tops, Hawaiian shirts, and sunglasses are a must. However, weather does this crazy thing and changes all the time, so in the case that it starts to rain on your parade, have a leg up on the chumps paying $10 for a garbage bag and bring your own.
  • External battery. There are few things less fun than losing your friends at a festival with 50,000 other random strangers with a dead phone. It’s the absolute utmost anxiety for me. And remember what I said about good vibes? Yeah, they don’t include crippling anxiety and crying. So keep a little charge in your phone at least until you’re home safe with friends intact. Plus, save someone else’s battery life. It’s good festival karma.
  • Chase your euphoria. I just came up with that. It’s a little cheesy, but it has a good sentiment. Do what makes you feel good. Do what feels right. Chase that feeling you don’t find in your day-in-day-out work grind. That feeling that makes you feel alive to the fullest. The euphoria of hearing your favorite band play your favorite song to you and thousands of your new friends. You might not remember all of your festival, maybe not even most, but you will absolutely remember that moment.
  • Bring comfy shoes. Trust fam. You’ll be on your feet all day. I know looking cool is a thing, but so are twisted ankles, so tread on the comfiest sneakers or boots you have.
  • Wear a watch, so you don’t have to check your phone so much.
  • Finally, and most importantly, make friends. You’ll be glad you did. Festivals are a friendly and communal experience. You make friends with someone, and you both feel better. Scientifically, you get a dopamine rush to the brain. Unscientifically, it’s just nice to be nice to people.

 

Well, you’ve got my survival guide. I’ll see you out there in the wild Polo Grounds or the Farm. Maybe I’ll pop up in Zilker Park for ACL next year.

IT’S FESTIVAL SEASON!

 

How I converted my life to the Sremm Life

In 2012, I went to a little known music festival called Coachella. It’s in California. I saw a couple up-and-coming bands called Radiohead and Black Keys. It was quite lit. The last act of the festival was two artists turned entrepreneurs named Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Tupac even showed up in hologram form.

Now, this isn’t a humblebrag saying that I did it. I did, but that’s not the point. The point is that this show has always stood out to me as a show that had only hits, no filler. Every single song was a hit. Dre and Snoop would seamlessly flow from hits like “Gin and Juice” to “The Next Episode” and then into Still D.R.E. . The Rae Sremmurd concert at The Granada on November 22, 2016 was a lot like that show.

The anticipation for the hype-rap party starting duo from Atlanta was at an all-time high at the venue. The line was wrapped around the building with students and kids high school age and up. Once you enter the venue, it’s like there was a solid mass of people eagerly awaiting something incredible. Once a DJ started spinning DJ Khaled hits, the crowd started yelling every word. Like any college town rap show, all the pre-rap show staples were there (“Antidote,” “Woke Up in a New Bugati”, etc.)

We stood through 3 Sremm Life associates, Bobo Swae, Impxct, and a DMX lookalike named EEARZ, who has a mixtape titled “EEARZ to the Streets” which is an example of phenomenal wordplay and made me laugh audibly through his act. Finally, it was ready to get really rowdy.

Rae Sremmurd walked out in front of a giant, 200” LED screen flashing colors as they erupted into “Start a Party.” I’ve wanted to hear this song live since I heard it on that Sremm Life II, and I imagined every time I listened to it that I’d be partaking in a riot when I heard it live. The song absolutely did not disappoint. As soon as the bass kicked in, it was like a hurricane just ripped the roof off the place. It was sheer chaos. Hands were flying, water whipped through the air, and the bass was so loud that the air vibrated.

From the start of the show, there was no stopping the hit train. They leaped into a raucous version of “No Type,” “Throw Sum More,” and “Come Get Her.” Each song, the faces of the crowd illuminated nothing but uncut joy. I’m 100% confident that it’s impossible to be upset at a Rae Sremmurd concert. Between the unbelievable songs, performed with such enthusiasm, and the dynamic duo of Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy, there is just so much hype to be caught up in your feelings.

The chemistry between the two brothers is something that needs to be noted too. The last thing President Obama does before handing the reigns over to Mr. Brexit Donald Trump is officially name Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy national treasures and throw their faces onto Mount Rushmore. These dudes are just the greatest thing to happen to music since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played the harpsichord with his ass. Their enthusiasm and love for what they’re doing is so pure, I wish I could pour it on my pancakes, it’s so sweet. When they weren’t rapping, they were bouncing around the stage or taking selfies with fans’ phones throughout the entire show.

After performing a plethora of hits, including every banger you’d expect to hear from them like “Look Alive,” “No Flex Zone,” and “Unlock the Swag,” it seemed like the guys were absolutely gassed, and rightfully so. They fully threw every molecule of themselves into this performance.

I can safely say that this is the best rap show of the year for me. It’s not all hype like the Saint Pablo show, it’s just pure unadulterated FUN. Imagine the best night at a club you’ve ever had, then imagine the dudes who provided all the hits you were turning up to were suddenly onstage performing them live, dressed in pink mink coats. It’s like a wild dopamine rush to the dome.

The truth is, we don’t deserve Rae Sremmurd. As a nation and as a community of people, we are lucky to have these two churning out bangers on a yearly basis for us to turn up to and shake our bums to. As Thanksgiving time is here, we should all be thankful for the two most effortlessly fun guys in music. Also, word to the wise, if your family is arguing at the dinner table on Turkey Day, just put on some Sremm Life and drown it all out with some good vibes.

Support local music! Whatever Forever Festival Review

There’s a famous line from Field of Dreams. It goes, “if you build it, they will come.” Well, the same can be said about building a local music scene. If you play it, they will dance.

Whatever Forever Festival took place on November 11 and 12 and showcased over a dozen local bands at venues all around Lawrence. The genres were expansive, the setups DIY, and the crowds, exuberant. It was kind of like a miniature South By Southwest right here in our own backyard.

Studio B was the venue for the second night of music. Located inside a kitschy art studio, a makeshift stage exists purely for the purpose of cultivating the local music scene. It was on this stage that some of Lawrence’s finest musicians proudly proclaimed with their voices and their instruments what makes LFK so rad.

 

Invisible Public Library was the first band of the night to hit the stage. They sounded a bit like Neutral Milk Hotel, but with less Anne Frank references and more guitar shredding. Their song”Excelsior” rang out through the venue and washed over the crowd like a tidal wave of sound. The bass lines in these songs are what got me, they were of the absolute, highest caliber. And lead singer Brandon Barnett’s powerful lyricism and singing was the perfect kick start to a chilly yet awesome night.

Next up, WIDES thrashed through their set. The three-piece created enormous soundscapes of powerful guitar riffs, sonic feedback, and expansive jams. This was the one set in the night that had me thanking my lucky stars I was wearing ear plugs. WIDES took no prisoners, pummeling the crowd with heavy noise rock and punk. Each song was more thrashy than the one before, and they definitely got the blood flowing.

Toughies took the stage third, and in my opinion, could have easily been a headliner. Their music sounds like the peaceful exploration of a new city. Their songs could soundtrack a slowdance with the one you’ve been making eyes at across the party all night. All of their songs were just stunningly beautiful. It’s safe to say that everyone in crowd had heart-eyed emoji faces. Each of their songs was a sing-a-long, which accentuated how much they are beloved in the Lawrence scene. They closed with “What Are Hands For?” which is an astonishing song. The heavily infectious chorus rang out loud as the crowd swayed, hugged, and embraced lovingly to this fantastic band.

 

I interviewed the group after the show, and they updated me on next moves for the band.”We’re going to write more music, and put out our third EP this Spring,” said lead singer Carl Smith. They’re also playing a show at Replay Lounge on November 19 followed by a benefit with Ebony Tusks called NOSH! at the Granada on December 1. Check them out, you won’t regret it.

After Toughies, the gloves officially came off as the hard-hitting punk band Gnarly Davidson tore up the stage next. These guys are the nicest dudes ever, but once they touch the stage, it’s like they’ve channeled all of hell’s fury through their amplifiers. I like my punk like I like my cars– loud, fast, and powerful. Gnarly Davidson has all of that and more. Their huge sound could barely be contained on that tiny stage setup. This sonic sucker-punch was exactly what I needed after Toughies got me all in my feelings.

Karma Vision kept the momentum going. As an artist signed to Whatever Forever the label, they represented proudly. They charged through a set of fantastic psychedelic indie rock. Their sound is so positive and joyous, it’s almost guaranteed to plaster a smile on your face.

 

Finally, the moment came for Lawrence’s favorite heart-throbs, Psychic Heat to close out the night. As soon as the band took the stage, the energy cultivated in the venue was so electric in the air, you could feel it in your legs. In fact, the only way to experience Psychic Heat is to get in the center of it, surrounded by dancing fans. Powerful guitar riffs, superb bass playing, and incredible balance in their sound. Their fuzzed out and explosive songs are best received when jumping, dancing, and moshing.

After the music came to a close, sometime around 12:45 a.m., the real party began. Throwback jams like “American Boy” and “A Milli” boomed out of the speakers as the remaining audience members danced, talked and kept the good times going. New friends were made, the vibes were outstanding, and it seemed like the sun coming up was the only thing that could end this picture perfect night.

Whatever Forever Fest was the perfect depiction of Lawrence. It was funky, subtle yet dynamic, and filled to the brim with excellent music.

Support your local scene. Build something. Play it loud.
PLS Check out the awesome  photos shot by Andrew Conroy at KJHK.org

The Strokes’ Nick Valensi Brings CRX to Lawrence : Interview

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It was a cold Wednesday evening and less than 24 hours after the election when CRX came to Lawrence. Given the 50 people casually sitting around the Bottleneck at 10:30 p.m. on November 9th, you wouldn’t think that a member of one of the world’s most prominent and influential indie-rock groups was about to perform. Once Nick Valensi, guitarist for The Strokes– turned front man for CRX– took the stage, Valensi and his band mates completely melted faces with their high octane rock.

I had the privilege of sitting down with Valensi at the KJHK studio and having a conversation about hitting the road with this new Strokes side project. You can hear full audio of that interview here.

https://soundcloud.com/kjhk/interview-with-nick-valensi-of-the-strokes-and-crx

It must be a weird thing, taking a step away from your massively popular, festival-headlining band, to load up in a van with new players and new songs, and hit the road to tour tiny clubs around the country. For Nick, this is the most exciting part of the job.

“This project was formed so that I could get out on stage more, and perform these songs live,” said Valensi when I interviewed him over the phone late last week.

Seeing Valensi step onstage is an ethereal and thrilling experience. I’ve traveled to Barcelona to see the Strokes. I’ve been to New York twice just to see the Strokes. I’m used to seeing him shred guitar licks for one of my all-time favorite bands. So to see him walk onto that tiny Bottleneck stage, guitar in hand, it packed just as much impact as ever. I even found myself grinning ear to ear during the show because I was so elated to see him in my tiny town of Lawrence. It was like if you saw Bruce Springsteen at the Underground.
CRX’s music is the kind that anybody can get into. Like the Strokes, it’s just outstandingly catchy and explosive guitar-rock with great bass lines, stellar drumming, and top-notch lyricism. Some songs sound like barreling through the desert going 120 mph on a dune buggy. Some songs sound like your first weekend out on the town in too long and you’re rocking your favorite leather jacket- I call that “feeling yourself” music. Every song, however, sounds like it could be a massive hit on indie-rock radio.

The songs he performed as a member of CRX sounds just like the Strokes. It’s almost uncanny, all of the things I know and love about that band was just as apparent last night. Superb guitar licks, catchy rhythms, and just about as much coolness as you can get. Even when performing to a half-empty dive bar, Valensi is just so damn cool. When he strums the guitar, it’s like effortless for him to produce such a powerful wave of awesome sound.

“Ways to Fake It,” the album’s lead single was like a Pulp Fiction-esque shot of adrenaline to the heart. When the opening riff starts up, it’s like the line for the rollercoaster is over and it’s time to ride with your hands in the air. This song has this electric quality that just sends chills down your spine and urges you to move your feet.

“One Track Mind” features one of Valensi’s finest vocal displays. Hearing this guy sing, you never would’ve guessed that this is his first time singing on a record. His voice sounds phenomenal layered on top of the intricate instrumentation, and the croon that he uses sounds unbelievably natural. Like I said earlier, it’s effortless. He just shows up and does it.

It was bizarre seeing only a couple dozen people show up to see such high caliber rock music, and it’s a little jarring. However, we just ended an incredibly stressful election cycle the day prior, and the times we are living in are jarring to say the least. But there was something special about seeing CRX up on that stage. I didn’t think about anything political for the time they were onstage, and I don’t think anyone else in the crowd was dwelling on anything. We were just enjoying this beautiful gift we call music, something so abundant and accepting of all kinds of people.

They say putting one’s hands up at a concert is the international symbol for not having a care in the world. Now, I don’t know what the future holds, and I’m certainly nervous and hopeful for all of my friends and family across the nation. But last night, when CRX was playing, my hands were up, and it was liberating.

The Ultimate Election Playlist to Distract From this Shit show

So you’re watching the election results roll in on CNN or Fox or whatever, and the white dudes with their touch screens keep “projecting.” Why are they projecting with 1% of the votes in? Why are they jumping to rash conclusions? Why is this election going the way it’s going? Is Trump maybe gonna win??!!

Take a breath. This thing is out of our hands. There’s a thing called the electoral college that is going to fuck everything up. So let’s listen to some music to distract ourselves from this enormous tsunami of shit and blonde wigs.

  1. Surfin’ – Kid Cudi
  2. Start a Party – Rae Sremmurd
  3. Vice City- Black Hippy
  4. Tony Stark – The Symposium
  5. Raised By Wolves – Foxtrot
  6. Spray the Champagne – Migos [This is the song I’m playing if Hilldog wins]
  7. Watching the Storm – U137
  8. Impregnable Question – Dirty Projectors
  9. Feet Up – Young Dolph
  10.  8 (circle) – Bon Iver
  11. Ultimate Painting – Ultimate Painting
  12. When It Rain- Danny Brown
  13. No Matter Where We Go – Whitney
  14. Where Will I Go- Sweet Valley
  15. FDT – YG

Enjoy the tunes, stay safe.

-Corey

 

Teens of Style: Car Seat Headrest brings back that high school feeling

Will Toledo, the driving force of indie-punk band Car Seat Headrest released eight albums and three EPs before breaking out with 2016’s Teens of Denial on Matador Records. On this album, Car Seat Headrest hit the femoral artery of powerful indie rock and punk, which illuminated them to the heights of the year’s best albums.

Their ascension to rock star status was fully apparent when the band took the stage. The crowd was ready to head bang, and from the first song played, that’s exactly what they did. As Toledo strummed through the opening riff of “Fill in the Blank,” the band kicked into gear and charged through the song with intensity.

Toledo, who is tall and slender doesn’t come off as much of a rock star, but as the best rock stars usually do, as soon as he played his guitar, the image was the last thing concerned. The rawness of his voice, the crystal clearness of his lyrics, and the fervor with which he plays guitar scream lowkey indie rocker who maybe spent too much time on the computer. But it’s on the computer where Toledo got his start in 2010, uploading music to indie/ DIY platform Bandcamp.

Any songs off of Teens was a surefire hit. “Unforgiving Girl” was a massive party starter that got feet moving early in the set. From there, Car Seat charged through “Destroyed By Hippie Powers” and a dark and brooding cover of David Bowie’s massively dark and brooding title track to his final album, “Blackstar.”

The culmination of the evening was hearing, possibly one of the top five tracks this year, “Drunk Drivers/ Killer Whales.” The song starts out with gentle lyricism before picking up the pace, and barreling into a powerful, hands-in-the-air, crowd-chanting chorus. If you ask me, Car Seat could have showed up, played this song, and left, and I would have loved every second of it. Seriously, this song is SO good. Please, give it a listen if you haven’t. It will change things for you, or at least worm it’s way into your top 50 tracks of 2016.

Finally, the band closed out the set and tore the roof down with “Connect the Dots” culminating in a nice little moshpit. It was especially awesome to see so many high school kids, no doubt in the midst of their awkward emo phase, just like me, dancing and jumping along to music like this.

With the current path to success they’re on, I’m eagerly awaiting news of a new Car Seat Headrest album. All the pieces are there, the fans are coming building by the hour, and the music is undeniably great. A fantastic live show is just the cherry on top.

 

 

Lil Uzi Vert lights up Kansas City

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Photo Credit the homie Skyler Brown Photography

“Lit” is a word casually thrown around nowadays, like how to describe a bar is on any given night, or when you find out someone brought queso to the party. But if the Lil Uzi Vert concert this Wednesday at the Uptown could be described accurately in one word, “lit” would absolutely be it.

When I got to the venue, there was a collective mass of people easily 1000 deep waiting, seemingly all day, for doors to open. Once this happened, these troopers, mostly composed of high school aged kids, didn’t relent a molecule of their excitable energy. For three hours, these kids gave everything they had to openers and DJs, spinning the same generic hype rap tracks you’d expect (Commas by Future, Antidote by Travis Scott, etc. you get it) [Side note: “Father Stretch My Hands” is a surefire way to hype up a crowd, no bones about it.]

I’m still taken aback by these fans raging as hard as they did to songs they could hear on Spotify. It became evident that it wasn’t the songs hyping them up though, it was the inevitability of them about to see the hottest young name in hip hop right now, Lil Uzi Vert, the 22-year-old from Philadelphia.

Right off the bat, Uzi blasted through the absolute banger “Do What I Want,” instantaneously starting the party. The crowd bounced up and down with hands in the air like one collective bunch. It was like there was a trampoline in the pit and all of them double-bounced at the same time. The lights and music surrounded them in an effervescent glow. Their energy compiling with their fellow youth and feeding off each other’s hype.

Lil Uzi played through all the hits, and all the crowd favorites. When he played his biggest hit to date, “Money Longer,” there was a unanimous sing-a-long to every. single. word. Uzi could’ve sat in a LazyBoy and drank hot cocoa while this group of fitful youngins shouted his words to the sky. Uzi’s cantankerously twitchy beats and whopping bass shook the place and made me thank my lucky stars I remembered ear plugs. [Side Note: This concert made me feel older than the old man in “Up”]

It was a remarkably short set for Lil Uzi Vert. If my count is right, he only performed for a total of 35 minutes, and only eight songs, which whizzed by in a blur of energy and turnt-up-ness. He played the songs the crowd wanted to hear, but I think everyone could have been down for another 30 minutes at least. Every song he sang, the crowd sang back every word. Every song was met with dozens and dozens of camera phones in the crowd, documenting every move of this 5’2” giant of hip hop.

When Uzi kicked into “You Was Right,” the night went from lit to a completely new level. I’d call it legendary, if I didn’t want to save that word for something a little more, proven. However, seeing someone like Lil Uzi Vert performing his heart out to the most eager and hungry crowd I’ve seen in a long time, was pretty legendary.

Lil Uzi Vert is on a totally insane level of success right now. He’s barely been in the game and he’s already won fans out of so many people, and influenced countless more to do music like him. He’s an inspiring figure. He’s a showman who hasn’t even begun to hit his true stride. This kid could be one of the biggest names in pop very soon. Only time and continued success will tell, but what I do know is that to see him at this point in time, with the hype surrounding him now, It was a show I’m incredibly glad I went to, even if I felt like a geezer with a prosthetic hip.

A birds eye view of the scene.