My first experience at a rap concert was this past Thursday when my friend Hussar and I went to the Electric Factory, and it did not disappoint. The concert started at 8:30, but thanks to septa we didn’t arrive till 9:00. Unfortunately this meant missing Temple product Ground Up, who I was excited to see after Lawrence showed me them before they performed at his fraternity. However we were just in time for G-Eazy, the second opening act and one of my personal favorites.
Now before I go in to the performances, I think I’d be doing a serious injustice by not describing the crowd. Standing in the back left corner just in front of the stairs that take you up to the bar, my friend and I looked over a sea of mostly high school aged kids. The boys donned snap-backs while the girls were dressed in skirts, and if we weren’t watching the rappers it was almost as entertaining seeing them drenched in sweat and grinding almost violently with each other to the beats. At times it almost felt like I was at my homecoming dance if I didn’t go to catholic school.
So feeling like a couple of geezers due to the average age of the concert coupled with the fact that we were out of breath after jumping to one song, Hussar and I got to watch G-Eazy perform some of his fan favorites like “Lady Killers” and “Runaround Sue.” What really got me though were the songs I hadn’t heard before. Specifically, his songs “Acting Up” and “Makeup Sex,” Which sample the bands Grizzly Bear and The Generationals respectively. His appeal to me was always the sampling of 50’s style doo-wop, but taking from a couple of good indie bands is pretty cool as well.
During the set change, and being the social people that we are, Hussar and I began talking to two girls standing next to us after several potentially intoxicated teenagers ran in to all of us while dancing wildly. Before this show, I never really had a grasp on how popular Hoodie Allen was. But according to one of the girls, his show in Boston was so big that no one bought Red Sox tickets. I’m not sure if I believe her, but as soon as Hoodie came out I can see why it might be plausible.
The crowd went freaking nuts as soon as he appeared. And I could talk about the songs he played (No Interruption, Small Town, Cake Boy, etc.), but what stuck with me was his interactive showmanship. During the performance, he pulled four random members of the crowd up for a dance contest. Obviously I was upset after not getting picked since I can throw down some serious moves, but the ensuing dance-off was really entertaining and concluded with a tubby kid from Hoodie’s alma matter Penn winning the whole thing. After exiting the stage, I noticed the winner standing behind me holding the t-shirts he won. I turned and gave him a thumbs up, which prompted him to come over to me. Breathing heavily and clenching his t-shirts in his hand, he said to me, “These are mediums, I’m a f*&%ing XL!” Despite this, he wouldn’t give them to me.
Along with the dance contest, Hoodie asked girls in the audience to throw their bras on stage. After accumulating enough of them, they were linked together to span the stage and Hoodie jumped through them like a jump rope as two stage hands held each end. Capping off his interactive set was having a kid come on stage to ask a girl in the audience to Malvern prom. Thank God she said yes, or I’m not sure he would have ever recovered having that many people see him rejected on stage nonetheless.
After his encore, the DJ played for a good twenty minutes as anyone who stayed danced around with whatever energy they had left. And although we got their late and my legs felt like jello after standing and jumping for three hours, it was a great concert in a great venue, and I’ll be looking for next time either of them stop by Philly again.