Before I even stepped foot in the venue last night, I witnessed security walking a young guy to his car. Apparently he had tried to enter the doors before it was his turn and security was just not having it. I took a deep breath and walked to the doors, walked through the metal detectors and claimed my spot. Within just a couple of minutes, I heard screeches coming from the growing crowd and saw security rushing into the group of young kids. There was already a giant brawl going on after the doors being open for only thirty minutes. Yeah, I got the hint that it was going to be a long night after that.
Neisha Neshae started promptly at 8. Her brand of music mixed R&B with a little bit of trap which had me a bit intrigued but when I quickly realized during the first song that she was barely singing along with the tracks, I was completely turned off. Just when I had written off Neisha’s set as not good, she broke into a cover of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” and completely changed my mind. Singing just a portion of that song showed off her true talent and it seemed like from that song on, she was actually singing and I loved what I heard. Neisha had energy as she prowled across the stage with her sparkly jacket catching the light perfectly. She didn’t over-interact with the crowd but she also didn’t ignore them which I really appreciated. Some rapper that I’ve seen perform spend too much time trying to get the crowd hyped up and Neisha just didn’t seem to care. She was up there, doing her and, once I gave her a real chance, I ended up truly enjoying her short fifteen minute set.
After a quick DJ set, it was time for MadeinTYO (also known as Made in Tokyo) and as soon as he took the stage, the crowd erupted. MadeinTYO is a young kid, I mean, really young… like 24 years old young but he had more power than some of the seasoned performers in this scene that I’ve seen. With a couple mixtapes, singles and guest appearances, this guy may have only been releasing music for the past year but it was clear he had already made an impact in the scene. His brand of music was a bit harsher than I typically like but there was no denying his energy. He didn’t have to do much more than step on the platform that was standing in the pit between the stage and crowd in order to get the first couple rows of people screaming and reaching for his hand.
Throughout MadeinTYO’s set, there was a sample that said “We Love The Private Club” that was played. I feel like I must have heard that sample at least one hundred times and it never quite made sense why is was being played when it was. After doing some research, I came to find out that he is on a record label called “Privateclub”. Okay, so I got it, it was a shout out to the record label but the way it was done was so distracting and honestly ruined most of the set for me. The sample wasn’t played in time, it wasn’t played just at the end of songs. It was literally just thrown into the set whenever the DJ felt like it and, more often than not, would end up cutting off MadeinTYO’s strings of lyrics. I think I would have loved his set way more had that sample been taken out of the picture but it was clear the audience didn’t care or even notice the sample as they screamed and pushed through the set.
After a twenty minute break of watching the security guards watching the crowd, the room went dark and two screens towards the back of the stage showed the image of an older man’s face. The anticipation was easily felt as background music started to pump through the speakers. After a couple of minutes, the old, weathered face turned to the face of Big Sean and the crowd erupted in a way that I hadn’t seen previously in the night. Everyone was jumped with their hands in the air. I’m pretty sure that if I had gotten onto the main floor and crouched down on the ground I could have gotten a clear picture of the floor up to the stage with every beat. It was actually quite amazing to witness a nearly sold out crowd jumping completely in sync.
Big Sean had a sense of intensity that completely blew me away within the first song. For just one guy, it was crazy to see how he could demand the attention of the crowd without even asking for it. I caught Big Sean two years ago at Soundset but, being that it was a huge festival and he was one of the last to perform, I was too exhausted to give him the time of day. After seeing him last night, I regretted the decision to not pay attention to him at Soundset. It is clear that he has a love for life and a passion for music.
Last night’s show was part of Big Sean’s tour in support of his new album “I Decided” and it was easy to see just how inspirational this album was for him and for the crowd. Sure, his brand of rap is a bit harder than what I typically listen to and even after hearing him live I’m not quite sold on the music side but his message was enough to keep me from saying I hated his set. I felt like I was the only one in the entire venue that was unable to sing along to the songs but it helped me take a step back and just watch everything. It was a bit of a culture shock for me. The way people jumped around and the atmosphere in the venue was unlike any other show I’ve been to and, again, not too sure I was a fan of it but it was definitely awesome to experience something different!
Last night had a rocky start and I definitely wouldn’t call it one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. That being said, it wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be. I plan on sticking with my Minnesota Nice brand of hip-hop and rap for the time being as I find it much more relateable. That being said, I found Big Sean’s overall message and love for life enough to have me sold even though the music doesn’t quite do much for me.
Sausage Fest Meter- 6 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 19
Crowd Surfers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Passed Out People – 1
Celebrity Sightings- 0
Overall Score- 4 out of 10
Show on Deck- Voodoo Glow Skulls