Macklemore & Ryan Lewis-- Boston, MA-- November 8th, 2013
4eva n a Day Theme
Talkin' Bout Nothing
My Sub Part II
What You Know About It
I Got This
Just Last Week
Talib Kweli included:
Too Late (Reflection Eternal cover)
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover by Res)
Get By (w/Res)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis:
Ten Thousand Hours
Life is Cinema
Thrift Shop (w/Wanz, but he was totally lip-syncing)
My Oh My
Same Love (w/Mary Lambert)
Freestyle (set to the music of "Float On" by Modest Mouse and featuring a brief tease of "Make the Money in the middle)
Can't Hold Us (w/Ray Dalton)
And We Danced
Can't Hold Us
As with most nights in the month of November, The TD Garden was packed and loaded with passionate fans making a lot of noise. This excitement wasn't for the Bruins or Celtics though, it was for Seattle MC Macklemore and his producing partner Ryan Lewis, who brought down the house in their first major-arena performance in the city of Boston.
The night kicked off with Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. (short for King Remembered in Time.) K.R.I.T. was my primary reason for attending this show and he didn't disappoint. He's an incendiary performer and his bass-heavy production shook the room louder than any of the other artists on the night (his DJ also uses a turntable that looks like a Cadillac, which is completely badass.) Unfortunately, very few people in the room cared about his set. The crowd skewed younger due to the success of Macklemore's radio hits and someone with such a heavy southern-tinge to their music like K.R.I.T isn't going to crossover well with that crowd. He tried his hardest to get the crowd riled up with heavy interaction and trying to start chants, claps, etc, but it was to relatively no avail. It also doesn't help that K.R.I.T.'s style of music is much more suited for a smaller venue. I have no doubt with his energetic stage presence and monstrous production that he would tear it up in a club setting (Hearing "Country Shit" at one of his headlining shows would be INSANE.) Nonetheless, K.R.I.T put on a pretty great set and did the best he could be considering the circumstances.
Talib Kweli came on pretty much immediately after Big K.R.I.T. left the stage. I've never really been too big on his music, but with all the contributions he made to hip-hop with his work in Black Star and his solo career, I was still intrigued to see him. Kweli showed with his surprisingly brief 35-minute set why he is a hip-hip icon. His delivery was fluid and crisp and be brought this level of intensity to his verses that caught be my surprise for a guy that is known primarily for his calm, conscious style. His set took a bit of a brief awkward decline when he invited collaborator Res on-stage to perform a cover of "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac. Res does have an excellent voice, it was just very confusing to burst into a Fleetwood Mac cover in the middle of a hip-hop show. Kweli quickly recovered with last few songs of the set, including a fiery rendition of his most known song "Get By" with stunning work on the hook by Res. Aside from the brief Fleetwood Mac speed bump and the fact that he cut a lot of his songs painfully short, Kweli put on a great show worthy of his hip-hop legend status.
After a half-hour or so wait, the moment had finally come for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to perform. Unlike the first two performers who seemed a bit out of place on a such a big stage, Macklemore seemed right at-home on a huge stage. Even though this is his first time doing a large-arena tour, he seems like he's been performing in large venues for years thanks to his larger-than-life stage presence. The giant personality he shows in his music is amplified even further when you put him in front of a huge crowd and it just makes for a great show. As you expect with the content of his music, he's a very heartfelt and emotional guy when he talks in-between songs, but what really made his banter special was his sense of humor. The clearly-made up, long anecdotes he had before "Thrift Shop", after "And We Danced" and at the end of the set when he was thanking/introducing his band were absolutely hilarious and showed a side of him that you haven't really seen outside of the lyrics to "Thrift Shop". The most special aspect of the show though was the insane crowd reception. I can only think of a handful of times in the approximately 70 concerts I've been to where the crowd was going that nuts during a performance. Whether it be casual fans that only know "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us" or diehards that were before he became a superstar, Macklemore fans have an almost unrivaled level of enthusiasm. The setlist was pretty unsurprising containing all the hits that have made him so famous, but there was a few nice surprises along the way with "My Oh My" and a freestyle set to "Float On" by Modest Mouse. Macklemore may not be the most flashy or technically impressive MC in the world of hip-hop, but his energy, honesty and incredible work ethic make him a great artist/performer.
Big K.R.I.T. 8/10
Talib Kweli 8/10
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 8/10
11/28 Run the Jewels
12/21 The Red Chord/Despised Icon