In my college and adult life I’ve spent enough time hearing stories from folks from the DMV to visualize how much physical stamina a Go-Go requires; fueled by call-and-response chants from vocalists, a driving beat from the percussion section and the constant movement of people. An overload of music and dance, enough to be considered physical activity. But with chain-smoking residual effects resting on my lungs, I’m sure I don’t have the wind to last through one, considering I get tired just listen to the recorded sets. If my assertions are right, though, then what I saw Saturday night was a Hip-Hop Go-Go via Wale and the band UCB as they stopped through Barfly’s in Nashville.
After a proper primer by local acts N.O.B.O.T.S., The Future and Open Mic, Wale took charge and the stage, going through a playful exchange over lighting with a cameraman. After promising he would provide memorable footage, the lights dimmed and the musical fervor picked up, signaled by Wale’s performance of his regional banger “Dig Dug.” With that, the crowd was in full sway from the outset.
Wale showed complete crowd control as they rhymed with him and called out nearly every refrain as he lead them through “Back In The Go-Go,” and his verse from “Rising Up.” The most impressive aspect of Wale’s show was his calm and candor like that of a veteran performer. He provided necessary jolts umph when needed, he managed stage proximity by catering to all sides of the audience equally and he invited the crowd to come closer to the stage early in the show.
I am of the firm belief Wale is a label exec’s dream. As Dart pointed out the other day, Wale has been more consistent than any other new artist (and perhaps even some vets) for the past three or four years. Beginning with his ascension in the Paint A Picture mixtape, he is the closest thing to a ready-made star with no assembly required. He collaborated with the likes of The Roots and Bun B (and the upcoming Back To The Feature mixtape with 9th Wonder), he’s releasing his own Gotty™-approved The Mixtape About Nothing and he has Nike money in his bank account.
So when Wale took the stage on a rainy Saturday night in Nashville, I figured the move was nothing more than a continuation of that process — an attempt to convert a few more listeners into paying supporters when (and if) his debut retail album drops. Since I was already sold on his talent, I went to the show looking to see if Wale was truly the complete package, seeing as how many of the other acclaimed XXL freshmen had proven worthy of merit when I saw them at SXSW.
Energy may have been the other key component of Wale’s performance as he showed polish, but with room to grow as a showman. Midway through, Young Chris, formerly of Roc-A-Fella’s Young Gunz, joined Wale and UCB on stage to contribute, doing his verses from crowd favs “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” and “No Better Love.” One of the peaks of the show was a rendition of UCB’s “Sexy Lady” that had both male and female members of the crowd singing along, culminating with several young ladies taking the stage to dance… one in particular received a birthday serenade.
After dropping in a “these are my Go-Go roots and influences” medley that brought the bounce out of the large handful of DMV transplants in the audience, Wale drew near the end of his set with his latest single “Chillin‘.” Even though it was sans Lady GaGa, the song seemed even stronger than I first thought after seeing it live. The set was capped with a triumphant “Nike Boots” with Chris dropping in his remix verses.
“Flyer than the rest of them” indeed, Wale could not be defeated by rain and managed to bring a thundering show that was approved and worthy of recommendation when the Attention Deficit tour swings (click here for remaining show dates) through your city.
Previously Posted — Video: Wale Performs “Chillin” & “Nike Boots” Live | “The Post About Nothing…”