The true test of music going from good to great usually occurs in one of two places: in a vehicle with a massive sound system and on stage in front of a crowd. On Monday, I had a chance to see and hear two remarkable albums in person as Mac Miller and Chance The Rapper visited Nashville on "The Space Migration" tour.
After a long day Monday, I was bushed so I made arrangements with Kelly Hite to have her shoot these pics. She did a kickass job at capturing everything, which helps a lot because shows almost become in-person emails for me. I'm getting hit with pitches, asked questions, etc. etc. when all I wanted to do is either shoot a few shots and/or watch the show and vibe out with the rest of the crowd. It's like "Yo, don't be over here asking me my thoughts on Yeezus, dog. I came to experience the show."
S/O to Kelly (and Rob, too) for holding me down. Same goes for Artie, too. Appreciate the courtesy, fam.
Right now, it's way too Fourth of July for me to type a gang of elaborate words so check out Kelly's photos and I added in random thoughts and other bits. Nothing too heavy. Sort of like how a psychiatrist does those tests where they hold up a picture and say "tell me what you see." That's the words that follow here.
This is Syd The Kid of The Internet. I got my days mixed up so I actually forgot the show was on a Monday night. As a result, I had to rush to get there, got thrown off by my GPS because I'd never been to the venue before and ended up being late. Plus, the show started early and on time. When the hell did rap shows ever start on time?
So, I missed The Internet and Vince Staples opening sets, which really blows because one of draws was the chance to hear parts of Purple Naked Ladies performed live.
I've lamented before how a lot of new artists lack true showmanship or the skills to perform. It's like they can't translate their music from mp3 files to a dominant performance. Neither Chance nor Mac experiences this problem. Specifically with Chance (because Mac's had almost several years of performing under his belt), he brought Acid Rap up to another level after hearing it live. I'll go on record to state that Acid... is the top release of 2013 so far. Simply put, nothing's touching it in terms of bringing fresh energy, style and overall vibe to a project.
Here's the thing about Chance and AR: for every squeal, yell or thundering point of emphasis he delivers with his voice on the album, he digs even deeper while performing live and drives each one home in different ways. It could be with a leap across stage, yelling just a little bit louder, belting the line from deep down at a guttural level or just involving the crowd.
And the crowd knew damn near every single song almost verbatim. That last time I saw that happen during a club date was when I caught Dom Kennedy's performance maybe a year ago.
Pick any song, any song you like. Imagine Chance rapping it in person and that's what you have here.
I've been watching Mac perform here and there for at least the past two or three years. Not only is he refining his sound when it comes to the actual music, but he also keeps taking strides on stage. There's a confidence and self-absurdness with each track, each movement hitting its cues. He can shift from the playful material on K.I.D.S. all the way up to his new album and still control the momentum and the crowd.
One of the things I wanted to experience live is Mac's singing. The in-studio version of "Objects In The Mirror," accompanied by The Internet, really caught me off guard when I first saw it. It was enough to make me sit at my PC and watch/listen to watch Mac's full London performance video (getting me to sit and watch any video past two minutes is harder than it seems), which led to me going on Monday. Could he sing? Yes. I wouldn't call it "singing" in the traditional sense of polished, note-hitting perfection. However, he's capable of effectively carrying a tune.
I'm pretty sure there's video of the performance out there but I think Kelly's overhead angle on this shot of the crowd here sums up the experience. Click to enlarge and you'll see Mac doing what he does and the crowd dialed in and responsive. A beautiful shot IMO.
Did I mention that Kelly's badass at this photography shit? Check a small portion of her work here then hire her for all your photography needs.