Some of you may have read my last ‘thinkpiece’ on rap concerts and why I tend to hate them. It usually comes down to a lack of instruments or any sort of musicality whatsoever (cough lance skiiiwalker cough). But lets be honest, that’s not going to stop me from going to see my favorite artists in person when they come into town. Such is the case with Skepta. Went to check out his show last Monday night at the Concord Music Hall here in Chicago, IL. I loved it. Here’s why.
Skepta had an opener Monday night (who happens to be one of Kanye’s proteges) who was actually pretty engaging. He played some old hits, some mixes, and just enough hype tracks to warm up the crowd who were filling into the venue at the time. I went into this show not expecting much; Skepta isn’t a huge name in the states, and this show was on a Monday night. So while this opening DJ performed, I was standing near the back with my beer patiently waiting for a hopefully above-average grime show. After the opener was done, they played some house music and the crowd stood around in anticipation for what I assumed would be another DJ (probably Skepta’s) playing some additional warm up tracks. What I didn’t know is that Skepta has a larger Chicago following than I originally thought, and just the melodic “looking for me, Konnichiwa” from his latest album’s opener was enough to get the crowd ENTIRELY juiced up. And when I say ENTIRELY, I mean that I was standing near the bar in the back and a mosh pit opened up right in front of me. Needless to say, the energy was astounding. Aside from just the sheer energy level, I am impressed by how there were literally zero gimmicks. No rapping over a backing track of his own voice, no excessive numbers of hypemen on stage, no onstage rants, no industry drama. At one point, he even exclaimed “Fuck Celebrities, I hate them” during a little BBK shoutout, cementing his disdain for the bullshit.
And now for the most impressive aspect of the show, the sonic quality. The bass was as loud as expected for a hip hop concert but surprisingly enough, the trebles cut through which made the beats sound remarkably crisp onstage. This is something I was worried about considering many of his tracks depend on the high end melodies for their appeal, such as Crime Riddim and Konnichiwa. You could hear every bar he was rapping loud and clear, which is a refreshing change of pace for live rap. Truly impressive.
Overall, I would recommend his show, especially after seeing the size of some of the venues on his instagram feed. He gets the whole venue lit though, so if you are looking to casually observe from the back, good luck.
Concord Music Hall: 10/10 as always