Saturday at the Orpheum, East Coast rapper Mac Miller brought an electrifying performance to a sold out (and smoked out) crowd, captivating the audience and proving he’s growing up.
In the wake of his recently dropped LP GO:OD AM, Miller was ready to give fans a wake-up call with new material — much needed, considering how awful the opening acts were.
Opening for Miller was Odd Future’s Domo Genesis, Philadelphia rap duo The Come Up and D.C. rapper GoldLink. The underlying problem with these three rap acts was how surprisingly little “rapping” actually occurred. When they did rap, what came out was essentially lifeless.
Domo’s set consisted of him rapping songs like “Soup In My Motherf*****g Bowl,” a song in which Domo repeated the phrase “soup in my motherf*****g bowl” over and over for roughly a minute before the beat basically fizzled out. From there, he moved on to other equally short-lived and lazy tracks.
GoldLink’s performance offered slightly more substance, but his cadence grew stale after his second song. The highlight of his performance, and perhaps the highlight of all the opening performances, came when he and his hype man began throwing cards and spraying water on the crowd while Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” played over the PA.
Without the seemingly lax substance control that night, the crowd probably would have left long before the headliner.
But when Miller finally did come out, he did so with a vengeance. He entered shouting his 2012 party anthem “Loud” at the top of his lungs, instantaneously sending the crowd into a frenzy.
The onstage energy Miller brought was certainly enough to resuscitate a venue the openers had flattened.
Miller’s performance managed to exemplify his growth as an artist. His older “frat rap” hits like “Donald Trump” transitioned into his newer, more ambitiously produced boom-bap and jazz-inspired songs like “Brand Name” and “100 Grandkids.” These juxtapositions gave perspective to Miller’s ever increasing aspirations as both a producer and rapper.
That said, the show was more than just proof Miller is a big kid now — he’s also an exceptional MC. His flow remained steady the whole night and his uncanny ability to get the crowd jumping never faltered.
Within each lyric Miller spit, there was an element of rage and urgency. His live performance gave each song a sense of inhibition and resiliency that inspired the crowd to rave with similar intent.
Miller himself gave the best description of his show’s atmosphere Saturday night.
“I’ve seen crowd surfers, I’ve seen mosh pits, I’ve seen baptisms,” Miller said halfway through his set.
While the baptisms may not have made an appearance at the show, the crowd surfing, mosh pits and generally psychotic atmosphere sure did.
Despite the openers’ forgettable hour-and-a-half performance, Miller’s ever-fresh production and effortless wordplay kept the crowd bouncing all night long.