Joey Bada$$ brings the Beast Coast Tour to Calgary [Review]
Calgary, AB – Originally published Sept. 18, 2013 – On Sept. 12, our friends over at True Rhythm brought Joey Bada$$ through Calgary for his only two Canadian shows on the Beast Coast Tour. Following an early all-ages show at the Alibi Room, Joey rolled over to Republik Nightclub for his 18-plus set. Though Joey didn’t hit the stage until after 1 a.m., the older YYC crowd warmed up with host Bedroc Ox, as well as a few opening acts.
Okay, there were more than just a few opening acts. There were way too many openers and not enough people in the crowd. It came across as an amateur open mic night for MC wannabes. The few people who were at Republik at the ungodly early hour of 11 p.m. filtered outside to drench their lungs in nicotine and engage in friendly banter. There are only so many “How many of you smoke weed?” inquisitions that a crowd can endure. It’s kind of like dealing with the persistent guy at the bar who won’t let down. But you feel bad for him because he’s trying so hard to be cool. So you go AWOL and smoke out in front of Republik Nightclub.
Thankfully, the performance quality improved as the night wore on. Local MC Avious performed his first show – ever – and turned the crowd right up. He’s a natural performer with killer enthusiasm and literary mastery. And he gets bonus brownie points for being one of the few openers who didn’t ask the crowd about their marijuana usage. Emmett Lotus and Tru-ly also dropped some dope rhymes on the microphone. Dragon Fli Empire duo, Teekay and DJ Cosm, took the stage at 12:40 p.m. as the final opening act of the night.
Teekay was worried that he’d get booed off the stage by the seemingly impatient crowd. But Calgary has so much love for DFE. When Teekay whipped out two PsYYChology albums to throw into the crowd, people went nuts. Seeing Calgarians fight for a free cop of a DFE album is a beautiful thing. Then Teekay invited A.Y.E. on to the stage to perform the hit “PsYYChology” track off of the album. Everyone was shaking.
At 1:15 a.m., Joey Bada$$ took the stage with DJ Statik Selektah and Kirk Knight. Joey lit up a joint and started puffing away. Some folks seemed floored by this. But come on. He’s Joey Bada$$. He’s got a badass reputation to uphold. But by far, the most badass shenanigans Joey got up to was pouring water bottles on the audience. See, Joey is of legal age in Canada. But in the U.S., he’s still considered a minor. Which means he can’t legally get down with the alcoholic beverages in public. So he’s not accustomed to popping bottles of Henny over his fans, yet. But he seemed to thoroughly enjoy making it rain with that H20.
Joey performed all of his hits, as well as some newer material off the Summer Knights mixtape. The Souls of Mischief homage track, “95 Til Infinity” was definitely the crowd-favourite. It was also probably the only newer Joey joint that the tag-along attendees had heard. But the Collie Buddz-assisted banger, “My Yout,” also turned things up a notch (even though Buddz wasn’t there to grace the audience with his presence).
Kirk Knight took some time to spit his solo stuff on the microphone, too. Joey and Kirk are longtime friends from Flatbush. They formed the Pro Era crew with CJ Fly, Powers Pleasant and the late Capital STEEZ while they were in highschool. Kirk is also looking to get into the game as a solo MC. He’s dropping his forthcoming solo project very soon. The duo rocked matching camouflage-print bucket hats. It was fantastic.
When Kirk wasn’t performing his solo material, he hid off on the side of the stage. He sat on the staircase with his microphone and performed backing vocals from the comfort of his seat. Evidently, he was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to rouse the crowd. But Joey had that handled. He had everyone hopping, and singing along. Selektah seemed uncomfortable in his role as the Pro Era chaperone. At one point, he discreetly motioned for Kirk Knight to get up and join Joey on stage. But Kirk played it all passive-aggressive and ignored Statik. Other than that, Statik occasionally tossed out some grunts and hype-talk at the crowd. But he let Joey run the show.
The show wrapped up shortly after 2 a.m. Joey had been going non-stop since 7 p.m. and his night wasn’t even done yet. First he attended a fan meet-and-greet at the Alibi Room. Then he performed at the Alibi Room. Then he performed at Republik. But he still had another meet-and-greet to endure before he could call it a night.
Statik Selektah hung around after the show to schmooze with his diehard fans. The rest of the concertgoers headed out for the night, with newly renewed Bada$$ status. Joey won’t be hitting up Calgary during his upcoming Smoker’s Club Tour. But we’ll be waiting for him to come back and pay us another visit.
Photography and review by Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada
Twitter: @joeyBADASS_ | @kirkknight | @StatikSelekt