“All about energy, make good, annotate memories. I’m the fucking Dalai Lama,” is a line from Mac Miller’s hit song “Matches,” and while he might not be the peacemaker that the Dalai Lama is, he most certainly brought the energy last night at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts.
Wearing a shirt with ice cream cones, and often drinking from a large bottle of wine, Mac played for over two hours, after almost another 90 minutes of music from opening artists Earl Sweatshirt, Chance The Rapper, The Internet, and Vince Staples.
Fresh off the release of his sophomore album, Watching Movies with the Sound Off, Mac managed to thoughtfully mix his set list with its share of new and old songs. Opening with his single “Loud” from the mix tape Macadelic, he immediately grabbed the crowd’s attention, as a deafening roar filled the House of Blues. As I was taking pictures in the photo-pit, I almost felt as if the sound from the girls screaming behind me was as loud as the bass erupting from the speakers in front of me.
The 21-year-old native of Pittsburgh essentially has two drastically different sets during his “Space Migration Tour.” The first set was with his team of Tree Jay and DJ Clockwork. Some highlights include “Goosebumpz” and “I’m Not Real,” when Earl Sweatshirt returned to the stage. After a short break, The Internet came on for a set with a full-band. Backed by drums, keys, and bass, Mac hopped on the guitar, piano, and vocals, showing off how multi-talented of a performer he is. After that came a four-song encore, in which he closed with one of his trademark songs, “Donald Trump.”
During his set with the full band, a woman started talking to me about how Mac Miller is on par with greats such as The Beatles, and while I don’t agree with that, he most certainly has proven himself as both a rapper and musician. Playing the guitar behind his head, flawlessly rapping with energy and accuracy, and singing surprisingly well, Mac Miller put on a show that anyone almost any music-lover could enjoy.
Earl Sweatshirt, of the hip-hop collective Odd Future, put on an admirable performance, performing songs from his upcoming album, Doris, along with some classics like “EARL” and “Orange Juice.” Surprisingly, the crowd didn’t appear to be too hyped up for Earl, perhaps exhausted after almost an hour of the other opening acts in anticipation for Mac. Earl isn’t the type of rapper to jump around the stage like his partner in crime, Tyler the Creator, but he is an incredibly talented rapper and would’ve been enjoyed by the crowd much more had he performed earlier.
Admittedly, I hadn’t heard much music from Chance The Rapper before last night’s show. But after hearing him perform live, I thought he was so amazing that I bought his music when I first got home, including his latest mix tape, Acid Rap. Chance was, by far, the highlight of all the opening acts, showing the performing ability and skill of a well-seasoned artist, despite the fact he is only 20-years-young and this is one of his first tours. Chance had a balanced set, allowing him to jump up and down and squirt water guns during songs like “Pusha Man” and “Good Ass.” But songs such as “Everybody’s Something” allowed him to turn down the energy and let the crowd sway to the beat and flow to his lyrical-genius.
The Internet is the odd-duck from this rapper-filled lineup, playing a hybrid of jazz and funk music, but they put on quite a remarkable performance, playing tracks from their 2011 album Purple Naked Ladies. Syd, also from the Odd Future collective, is the lead singer of the group and has a stunning voice. Backed by an extremely talented band, I thought they really shined on songs like “Live It Up” and “Love Song.” Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t seem to respond too kindly to their music, even though I believe they rocked the house.
Vince Staples opened the night off on the first tour of his career. Even though he is a fantastic rapper, I believe he will watch videos of these shows and see that he must improve as a performer. Compared to other young artists like Earl and Chance, Vince has a long way to go in that department. If he brought even half the energy that Chance The Rapper or Mac Miller did, I think people would’ve enjoyed his performance much more.