With a trip down to Iowa for the holidays in my future, I was willing to take any show I could get. I know that by the end of the weekend I will be going insane from too much family time and far too much food. Just the thought of my upcoming trip has me stressed out. I have so much work to do, my apartment is a mess and I miss my friends that headed home early.
After a small snafu at the door regarding my guest list status, I made my way in and found myself in my normal spot up near the stage but off to the side. When I finally got comfortable with my surroundings and said my hellos to the familiar security staff up front, I looked to the stage and instantly struggled to see any performers. The stage was packed with “photographers”. Why did I use quotations? Because I’m not comfortable calling all of the idiots with cell phones out true photographers. Sure, the first couple of rappers that graced the stage are from a local scene that I don’t know much about but I honestly wanted to hear what they were putting out there and see their energy. Unfortunately, I was too distracted by all the “photographers” to even pick out the performers until their set were nearly done. I know, from the line-up listed on the Facebook event, that I had just seen T. Woods and Kid automatic but that’s about all I could tell you about the two opening acts.
The Nofuckaround Gang was next and, if you ask me, they completely stole the show. First off, let’s just talk about their name. I mean, what is there not to love about that. They call themselves the Nofuckaround Gang and there was absolutely no fucking around on that stage. I watched in awe as the “gang” took turns at the microphone each with their own style. Although the group seems to be led by veteran emcee Bobby Hatfield, everyone in the massive group had a chance to shine behind the microphone. These guys were also the first and only group of the night to use live instruments. The use of these live instruments gave the music and show a whole new element that no one else brought to the stage.
As the Nofuckaround Gang was swiftly shoved off of the stage, you could feel the crowd’s anticipation as DJ Tiiiiiiiip and host Buddy Vega teased the audience with phrases like “TI an Nelly just entered the building!” Although just hearing those words didn’t quite get me excited, it was hard not to get wrapped up in the excitement going on around me. After a quick delay, the lights went down and TI (with giant security dudes in tow of course) took the stage. The crowd went absolutely wild as TI wasted no time jumping into his set.
TI rapped with a sense of fury and power that was impossible to ignore. Although he didn’t address the crowd too many times, when he did, it was clear that it came from the heart. He explained to the packed house that if he can get to where he is from where he came from, you can do freaking anything. Just get off your butt and do it. Sure, a little cliché but it’s always a bit heartwarming to hear a superstar help you realize that anything is possible.
As positive as some of TI’s set was, there were some parts of it that I absolutely hated. A couple of times throughout his set, I watched as TI’s security posse would point to someone in the crowd with their bright flashlights and, within moments, that person was being dragged out of the crowd in a literal chokehold. Now, I’m not sure what these people did to warrant such behavior and it could have very well been justified but I didn’t like the way that paying concert-goers were just ripped from the crowd and their friends and literally kicked to the curb. TI clearly suffers from little man syndrome (dude is freaking tiny) but his security guards sure don’t. Although I was doing nothing wrong and knew I was safe, it made me feel extremely uncomfortable whenever I saw a light shine in the area where I was standing because I knew there would be another person being dragged out behind me.
Closing out the night was the reason I had braved the cold to come out and postponed my trip back home- Nelly. Yeah, we can all joke around about the band-aid phase or whatever you want but, when you take it all away, you are left with an extremely talented man who knows how to command a crowd with not much more than his voice. Hailing from St. Louis, Nelly has been a staple in the worldwide rap scene since his 2000 release “Country Grammar”. Back in 2000 I was deep into my rap phase and “Country Grammar” came out at just the right time to have me listening to it on repeat on memorizing nearly every word. Sure, I haven’t given that album a good play through in years but that didn’t stop me from singing along to nearly every word of those old songs last night.
Nelly’s extensive set was full of songs from all over his impressive seven album career. The crowd went wild as he and his posse performed banger after banger. Even with recent legal woes regarding a rape charge that was dropped earlier this month, fans of Nelly have never left his side and you could feel his appreciation for that. His latest album “M.O.” may have been released back in 2013 but honestly, when standing in the crowd, it felt like this 43 year old was a new face on the scene what with how the people around me were reacting to his every move. It was quite refreshing and, when it was all said and done, I left the venue with a smile on my face.
Okay, you caught me, I’ve seen Nelly twice this year. Go ahead and laugh but I know on the inside you’re a bit jealous.
So maybe my past two shows haven’t quite been my usual shows but a concert is a concert and I’ll never say no. I do, however, think I’ll lay off of the rap shows for a wee bit.
Sausage Fest Meter- 6 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 40
Crowd Surfers- 1
Stage Divers- 0
Broken Bones- 0
Spotted Flying Through The Air- None
Pukers- 1- Right behind me- GROSS!
People Taken Out By Security- at least 7
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 3 out of 10
Show on Deck- The Shackletons/ Porno Wolves/ Sleeping Jesus/ Maudlin