I don’t know why Prof didn’t announce a Minneapolis or Saint Paul show for his current tour but was beyond excited that it gave me an excuse to travel to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to see a good friend. After an early dinner at my favorite local Mexican food joint (shout out to Cancun and their amazing queso and white sauce) and a couple of drinks at a little dive bar down the street from the venue, we were off to see one of my favorite local rappers in one of my favorite non-local towns.
The Metro was a very strange setting to have a show like this in. When we first walked in, we were instantly ushered into a line to get our entry wristbands. The staff worked quickly to get through the sold out crowd which was much appreciated but when we got our entry wristbands, we were informed that we had to then get into the other line to get our 21+ wristbands. A bit annoyed, we switched lines and stood, and stood, and stood. People around us were clearly getting restless and, before long, we just bypassed the line and went straight into the venue part of the building. The crazy thing is, we were still able to get drinks by just using our ID’s. Apparently there was no need for that second line but, I digress. The venue portion of the building felt a bit like an upscale hospital with the stark white walls and a beautiful crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling. A strange place for a show, it worked and the stage was larger than I expected for such a cozy space.
Due to the line confusion, I missed the local opener but was there in time to catch the always charming Willie Wonka behind the computer playing the role of DJ before the touring acts took the stage. With his giant smile and infectious energy that had me falling in love with him the first time I saw him, Willie Wonka played songs that matched the audience in the most perfect way. The mix of old and new songs was a smart move considering the demographic at this sold out show was a wee bit all over the place. He was able to play at least a song or two that everyone was excited to hear creating the perfect party atmosphere for the night.
A favorite of mine, Cashinova was the first of the touring acts to take the stage and, although it’s been awhile since I have caught him, I was instantly reminded why I love him so much. His raps are fierce without being overly aggressive. A true Minnesota rapper (the entire tour package hailed from The Twin Cities), Cashinova’s lyrics revolve more about real life than a fantasy party lifestyle. Having just released a new album, Cashinova is clearly just getting started and judging by the conversations my friend, her friends and I were having after his set, he is turning heads in all the right ways. Big things are coming for this young man and I can’t wait to see it all happen.
Following Cashinova was Mac Irv- A name that I’ve seen a million times and have caught here and there at local block parties and what not but have never really dug into. Much like Cashinova, Mac Irv’s brand of rap is true to Minnesota rap but has a bit more of an edge to it. A true voice for his community, Mac Irv is clearly unafraid to voice his opinions on a range of things from politics to police brutality. His passion for not only the music but also the subjects on which he raps about was enough to knock me back a couple of pegs. The conviction with what he performed with was felt, not just heard, and I definitely can’t wait to start catching him around town a bit more often now that he has me in the palm of his hand.
Headlining the sold out Friday night show and the reason for my travels was the one and only Prof. If I had to use one word describe this man it would be showman. I have seen Prof dozens of times at this point and it never gets old. No matter what’s going on or where your head is at when walking into a Prof show, you leave with a smile on your face and sweat rolling down your back. Although not as rowdy as a hometown Prof show, Eau Claire showed up last night and the entire audience was jumping and screaming along to every single note. Tired having gone to the gym, gone to work, then drove an hour and a half, I was surprised that I was able to hang with the youths near the stage and give it my all. Honestly, I think that says everything about Prof and the energy that radiates off of him.
Although on stage for over and hour and a half, the time Prof and his DJ (and opener) Willie Wonka felt more like just a couple of minutes. It was a set that I truly never wanted to end. A great mix of old and new songs, Prof kept the audience on their feet which has always kept me coming back. The amazing thing about this performer is the range that not only his voice has, but that his style also has. From quick-paced tongue twisters in some songs to an almost operatic vibe in others, absolutely every word the audience heard through the speakers was Prof and that (although it’s sad that I have to say this, it’s true) is definitely impressive. Too many rappers out there are singing over their own tracks making it easy to just lip-sync the hard parts but not Prof. There’s no denying the power, talent, and passion this man has and I will never get sick of seeing and experiencing it.
Last night almost didn’t happen due to the April snowstorm and my nerves about driving in said snow but the hour and a half white-knuckle drive was well worth it. The night was hot, sweaty, and loud and today will definitely be spent recovering but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Venue: The Metro
Sausage Fest Meter- 7 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 23
Crowd Surfers- None
Karaoke-Ability- 7.7 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- 0
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 0
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 9.1 out of 10
Show on Deck- Michigander/ Twinsmith/ Jared & The Mill
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