WRITTEN BY: KIJA CHRONISTER
The Foundry at the Fillmore’s intimate setting goes perfectly with the laid-back and emotionally evoking music that gnash performed on October 9, as part of his “u, me, and us” tour.
This 25-show tour kicked off in Phoenix, AZ, at the end of September, making its Philadelphia stop at the Foundry, a “club within a club” at the Fillmore, located right in the heart of Fishtown. The venue is relatively new and has helped the area attract people from all over the city.
When you first enter the Foundry, you are immediately faced with an enormous “LIVE” sign, which is a fun little twist of the traditional Philly LOVE statue. The Foundry is located on the second floor of the Fillmore, holding close to 500 people. When I first got upstairs I loved the overall appeal of the area, but was taken aback by how small the stage was. Nonetheless, the venue’s overall aesthetic fit the concert perfectly. It gave off a fun and relaxed vibe that corresponded with gnash’s alternative R&B style.
Gnash’s Philadelphia show was its ninth sellout of the tour. Patrons rushed in as soon as the doors of the Foundry opened, eventually having to start wrapping themselves around the bar located in the middle of the venue. After a while gnash’s DJ came onstage to hype up the audience by playing hit pop songs like “Broccoli” and “Famous”.
Once the audience was amped up from the first opening act, Triangle Park hit the stage. Triangle Park is the stage name of Austin, TX native and keyboard player Sean Jackson Eads. His main following comes from Soundcloud where he has over one thousand followers. I have never heard of Triangle Park nor had my fellow audience members. His nerves showed early on, based on his brief intro and nervous laughs. However, when he started performing, he got into his zone. He performed all original songs, which will be featured on his upcoming album.
The next opening act, Mark Johns, is featured on gnash’s EP, in the song “Rumors.” After the show I was able to chat with her and learned that her real name is Naomi and that she grew up in Singapore. She moved to the United States just 4 years ago. Her stage name is based off of her favorite artist, Marc Johns. She simply changed the ‘c’ to a ‘k.’
Mark Johns’s set consisted of songs off her EP, “Molino,” which will be released on October 28. The first couple of songs she performed were quite dreary and dismal, which she addressed by saying “I swear I’m not a depressed bitch like these songs.” While she appeared to be slightly nervous, this being her first time touring, she showcased her unique voice that sets her apart from other artists.
The opening act that stole just about every girl in the audience’s heart was Goody Grace. This Canadian heartthrob is a good friend of gnash’s. They have released several songs together including “Two Shots” and “That One Song.”
The 19 year old wrote with Cody Simpson in 2015, while also recording his own tracks to publish on Soundcloud. Grace, a gifted guitar player, performed many of his songs acoustically during his set. The moment Grace stepped on stage, girls went crazy over his sweet charm and heartwarming voice. He definitely melted my heart a little by throwing a cute little smirk my way. Grace took the audience by surprise when, during his performance of “Two Shots,” gnash came running onstage to rap his verse of the song. This gave the audience a great taste of what was to come when gnash would finally hit the stage.
After a 20-minute lull consisting of the stage being set up, the lights finally began to dim. The catchy snaps of the intro of gnash’s song “You Don’t Get Me” were pounding through the speakers. Gnash walked on stage with his microphone in one hand and an incense stick in the other, rocking his signature round sunglasses and one of his own merchandise sweatshirts. He propped himself on his stool right in front of his microphone stand, which was planted in a flowerpot decorated with vibrant colored flowers and butterflies.
His set started off with some of his slower songs, like “Lil Tokyo” and “Daydreams”. When one of his most famous lyrics came up in “Daydreams,” gnash signaled for the audience to scream out, “that’s why they call me Papi Gnashty.”
As the show progressed, gnash loosened up and became livelier. Grace came back out onstage for a majority of the set, playing his guitar and providing backup vocals. Gnash was particularly emotive during “That One Song,” swinging around to the melody, running back and forth from each side of the stage and adlibbing throughout the song. Every time he smiled it was clear how genuinely happy he was to be performing for 500 fans.
Gnash also incorporated Philadelphia into his lyrics that referred to cities. He said that he hadn’t eaten a cheesesteak during this visit because he was sticking to good his diet.
Gnash finished off his set with his most upbeat song, “F*ck Me Up.” He had everyone in the audience throw their middle fingers up and rock them back and forth to the beat of the melody. By the end of the song his whole crew joined him onstage, bouncing around yelling the song’s repetitive lyrics. The audience reciprocated gnash’s energy throughout the night, whether it was getting fired up during an upbeat song or softly swaying to and fro during a ballad.
The Foundry was the perfect fit for a gnash concert. The venue’s intimacy perfectly correlated with who gnash’s musical identity. He clearly wanted to connect with the crowd involved and keep them involved, which was very easy considering the stage’s small size. On top of that, the gap between the stage and the barrier spanned less than a foot, providing closeness between artist and audience.
While gnash gave a fantastic show, he still has so much potential to grow. This is just his first tour, and he only has 2 EPs out, yet he already has a chart topping single. I am already a huge fan of gnash and am excited to see what he has in store for the future.
Featured Image Courtesy: Stiched Sound