Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Lupe Fiasco gave his hometown fans quite a treat as the Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour hit its halfway point at the House of Blues. I was in attendance with much of our team, so allow for a quick reflection of my highlights of the night, mixed in with all of our amazing visuals above and below (previously seen on our social channels... more reason to follow us for the exclusives first ;)).
- First and foremost, Lupe kept it all the way Chicago. He said to the crowd that it was the one city he was waiting to get to since the tour started.
- Lupe brought out Lil Durk for the first song, then set the tone with a max. energy performance of "ITAL (Roses)" and "Put 'Em Up" — two standouts from Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album.
- Lupe dedicated "Kick, Push" to the recently injured Derrick Rose for perhaps the biggest crowd eruption of the night.
- Actually, it wasn't. Lupe prefaced a performance of "Go Go Gadget Flow" with a command to get the House of Blues rockin'. Cam Be and myself were in the crowd and on the floor, so trust when we can say that the House of Blues floor was indeed rocking. I've never felt that before at the HoB — the floor was literally shaking. I have a feeling "Go Go Gadget Flow" was a Tetsuo & Youth Preview Tour exclusive to Chicago.
- Lupe also took it back even further to his guest verse on Kanye's "Touch The Sky". He replaced "Sky high, I'm, I'm sky high!" with "I'm so Chi!" in the outro.
- A bonus freestyle from Lu after his rendition of a "personal favorite" — his feature on Robert Glasper's "Always Shine" — was one to remember.
- And the Tetsuo & Youth preview tracks all sounded great: "Crack" is very different, and "Drizzy's Law" is now my most anticipated. Lu's got some slick lines on this and Poo Bear delivers another ear-grabbing chorus.
- Lupe wasn't the only one to impress on stage... the undercard was quite impressive from beginning to end too. Stalley brought out Rockie Fresh for the hometown, Dee-1 reeled in the audience and got some great response for starting the show first, and The Boy Illinois' biggest hometown show to date was a success, flanked by his F.A. The Squad members TreStyle and Relelite. In fact, I was most impressed with the polish of Illi's stage presence and song selection of all the openers. We were in the photo pit for his performance and the whole first row became fans in a matter of minutes.
- The long wait for our car at Marina Towers after the show.
- Otherwise none, that was a great night.
After all, it was refreshing to see a full concert from Lupe after what's felt like 2-3 years in Chicago (he's done guest appearances at certain events in between). For the long-time diehards, there was the perfect balance of throwbacks, F&L2 cuts we haven't seen live yet, and completely new songs that were brilliantly spliced one after another to create and sustain a mood for just the right amount of time before moving onto the next. For the first-time concert-goers, like that of our photographers Cam Be & Who Dough who've only seen Lupe live in non-tour forms, they were floored at his high-octane energy and ability to spit word for word just like on the CD.
It was such a memorable show that after over a week of reflection, I'm still able to feel the feelings of the details described above as I sit and type this tonight. And it all comes back to the personal, hometown feel that Lupe ensured was in us from the moment he stepped in front of the moving spotlights and giant video screen. *cues up* "Superstar" to hold us over for Tetsuo & Youth in 2014.
There are a few dates left on the tour this month, including NYC's Irving Plaza Monday and Tuesday night — lupefiasco.com/tour — get out there if you can, one of the best shows I've been to in 2013, easy.
What better conclusion for a nationwide tour then the hometown, amirite?!
Krewella did just that this past Saturday as the Get Wet Tour finished up here in Chicago at a sold-out Aragon Ballroom. And let me tell you, that is some feat.
The first thing we felt when walking in was just how crazy big the fanbase is for this EDM/pop trio that we've seen grow from the beginning. There was a genuine pre-show buzz as fans were erupting at the mere reveal of Krewella's crystal stage set. Minutes later, Jahan, Yasmine, and Rain Man emerged from behind the crystals and the sisters strutted in front for a performance of their current hit single "Live For The Night". I was in front of the diehards in the photo pit between the first row and the stage and could see the "Krew" in full effect. Just picture fans going bananas. That's what we had here. After all, when there's a synchronicity between the energy of the artist and fans, it's a beautiful experience to appreciate. Just see Jahan and Yasmine below...
The group then proceed to their first performance of "Alive" — a remix of the original summer smash hit (which peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100; an amazing feat for a new artist) that set the tone for more remixes you can't hear anywhere else. In fact, that added such a refreshing element to the show for fans of the debut album — that there was a consistent flow of new production that it left us guessing even more what would come next. And quality-wise, none of them fell flat.
Krewella ran through much of the tracks on their Get Wet debut (with all of them even more suitable for a live concert setting) and even dabbled into some of their earliest singles and most recent collab with Nicky Romero "Legacy". The sisters alternated between the stage and behind the DJ booth to deliver it all, working up a sweat to pump up the crowd and still hit the high notes when appropriate. The fans were following suit, seemingly jumping higher with each drop in the beat and the ladies and fellas alike singing every word.
And that last point, to bring it full circle, was what made this concert experience so memorable. Normally at a hip hop show, it's hard enough to get fans to raise one arm up and down. At the Aragon, there are more rock and EDM acts that crowd participation at these shows and at this venue is already naturally higher. So to see the first few rows jumping up and down, and even girls on top of their friends' shoulders was no surprise. But to see the entire floor, including the back rows that were so far away from the stage, moving like what looked like a wave from our vantage point up top backstage was incredible. And this happened from beginning to end, every song. Get a glimpse and see for yourselves above and below — chills.
No doubt every homecoming is special: whether it's you or me returning to our old high school or a newly big-name artist coming back to their hometown. Krewella's at the Aragon Ballroom the other night was truly special for Jahan, Yasmine, Rain Man, us the fans — truly everyone.
**Shoutout to React Presents and the Aragon Ballroom as the perfect scenic venue for Krewella. All photos/GIFs by yours truly.
FINALLY, Krewella is stayin' home for a bonusDJ Set before they start a new leg of the tour in Europe — The Mid tonight, after 10, and only $20. Hope to see you there!
Friday night, Chicago's biggest house party was at the UIC Pavilion, where Waka Flocka, Borgore, Pharrell, and Steve Aoki kicked off the Aokify America tour. Though diverse in genre, all four acts seemed to draw the same, high energy crowd which made for a good ol' fashioned rager.
Crowd surfing >
Waka Flocka towered over the crowd, dreads swingin,' yell'n "squad."
Waka Flocka smokes the crowd
Borgore kept the crowd jumpin' and chanting "cake."
Pharrell... Pharrell took the stage smooth as you'd think he would and brought the funk for a lil while.
And ultimately, Steve Aoki, notorious for throwing a hell of a party, threw a cake in your face, crowd rafting, co2 blasting par-tee. Yes at least three - willing, mind you - people took cakes to the dome while Aoki danced about the stage like he was an eight year old high as hell off some bite size snickers. Don't get me wrong, as would I. Someone just beg's for you to throw cake at their face? That's gong show. Sign me up, Steve.
Look closely, Steve Aoki is throwing cake at a fan, and it's pretty great.
From beginning to end, the party never stopped, and the artists supported each other along the way. Waka came out during Borgore's set (lookin forward to their collab), and everyone stood by the stage to see one another perform. The unique billing of this tour is sure to bring fans of both hip hop and edm together in a way rarely seen before, a trend we hope to see continue moving forward.