Whenever I hear that a rapper/hip-hop artist is performing in town, I always get a bit excited, yet also a bit weary. This is because I can be very choose-y with what I like and dislike, especially when the genre is hip-hop. That being said, when I heard Vince Staples was coming to the Granada on March 5th, I was nothing but anticipatory. Though I find Staples voice to be a bit high pitched and awkward at times, I still love his stylish and trendy mix of hardcore hip-hop and trap music. This appreciation for his style would only be heightened after seeing his much anticipated show.
While I had heard that the show was close to selling out, I did not expect the scene that awaited me when I pulled up to the Granada at around 7:30, just 30 minutes before showtime. Not only were the doors not open yet, but the line for the show had stretched around the corner and then some, marking the longest line I’ve seen yet for a concert at the venue.
One would think that with the doors opening 15 minutes past the showtime, the acts themselves would be similarly slowed time-wise. To my pleasant surprise however, the opener, a fantastic woman by the name of Kilo Kish went on at about 9:00, finished her set at 9:30 and led to Staples finally walking onstage almost promptly at 10 pm.
Whilst the crowd reception of the opener was lukewarm with a bit of energy during the heavier songs, the crowd went absolutely electric when Staples came out for the first song. I can safely say it almost didn’t seem like the same crowd that had stood idly and awkwardly for so long, waiting for a heavy drum beat and some slick verses to finally go into a frenzy of dancing, jumping and pure energy. Staples’s sound definitely helps to encourage this, as song after song commenting on violence, poverty and blue suede seemed to only excite the crowd even more. By the end, I myself couldn’t resist jumping along with club bangers like “Senorita”.
To compliment the heavy sound, Staples used some quite interesting visuals to compliment his dark storytelling style. I wondered for a few songs why there were bright images of fish and other marine subjects on the screens during what would otherwise be very aggressive and dark songs. Then it hit me: Staples’s tour was titled The Life Aquatic. Not only did the visuals make sense after this realization, I started to very much enjoy them in comparison with the songs, and thought it was an excellent touch to an already fantastic show.
I was very impressed with the sound and energy that Staples brought to the sold out show, and I would highly recommend seeing him in concert if you like hip-hop, trap, or just having a great time.
Photos: Andrew Conroy and Ellie Fehlig