Mac Miller kicks it with the K.I.D.S of Calgary [Review]
Calgary, AB – This was a good year for Mac Miller. This was the year that he finally entered adulthood and dropped his sophomore album, Watching Movies With the Sound Off. Mac is no longer the happy-go-lucky Kool-Aid and frozen pizza kid that you may remember. He’s become one of those philosophical dudes who’s really skeptical and analytical, and relays it through his craft. It’s a good look for him. He’s even gotten into using metaphors (if you’ve given “Aquarium” a listen, you’ll know it’s definitely not about a fish tank).
So since the big Mac’s been getting so much attention lately, he decided to come chill in Canada via a nationwide tour. The good people over at The Union and True Rhythm teamed up to bring him to MacEwan Hall for an all-ages show on Nov. 14. And HipHopCanada was in the building. See how it all went down after the jump.
Doors to the venue opened at 8 p.m. But by 7:30 p.m., the teeny-bopping demographic that is Miller’s fan-base had formed a lineup that extended into the University of Calgary’s campus cafeteria. Kids are so polite, though. They show up to shows early and form orderly line-ups all on their own. Many of the concertgoers forgoed their usual Calgary Flames jerseys in favour of various Pittsburgh jerseys (because Mac Miller is from Pittsburgh, and all). That’s serious dedication to Mac. Usually a non-Flames repping Calgarian falls victim to eggings, car vandalism, social rejection, and everything else in between.
Opening support for the evening was provided by Choo Jackson, Bdice, and the Myriad duo (along with Halfcut of the Humble Giants). Mac hit the stage at 9:40 p.m., and everyone went bananas. Mac Miller could have had his pick of Calgary girls. Actually, probably not, because most of them were minors. Once the shrill crowd screaming decreased by a few decibels, Mac got things underway. And he delivered. Mac held his mic in one hand, and a clear cup filled with beer in the other. He was dressed to the nines. I actually spent a solid hour on Google trying to find the snapback that he was wearing. I eventually found it. It’s an Only snapback. So now you purchase the same snapback that Mac Miller wore that one time in Calgary. You’re welcome.
Mac started off with a lot of his older material including “Lucky Ass Bitch,” “Vitamins,” “Man In The Hat” and more. But he worked his way into his WMWTSO stuff. It was a good strategy: start off with the turned up party tracks that wear everyone out, and then get the audience all emotional and heavy with the newer tunes.
At one point, Mac embraced his inner Rasta and was reincarnated into Mac Lion. Just kidding. That didn’t actually happen. Instead, he performed a sweet rendition of “Three Little Birds.” He seemed adamant that attendees light up their joints and get down to blazing, but the crowd didn’t follow suit. That’s okay, though. Those kids were barely old enough to bootleg cigarettes at 7-11. Expecting them to have stashes of herb on hand to light up is a bit of a stretch. Things still got a little wild, though. A few cool cats in the crowd lit up cigarettes, instead. You could actually count the puffs of smoke wafting through the crowd on one hand — that’s how many people were partaking in marijuana use.
At the show’s halfway mark, the best thing ever happened. You may be familiar with that really smooth R&B track titled “All My Life,” by K-Ci & JoJo (it’s that track that you put into rotation on your iTunes playlist when you want to get lucky on a first date). Well, Mac and his DJ (DJ Money) took a moment to serenade each other: “I will never find another lover sweeter than you/ Sweeter than you/ And I will never find another lover more precious than you/ More precious than you.” DJ Money is one of the best hypemen-DJ hybrids around. And his smile is what dreams are made of. So watching him giggle with Mac Miller was a heartwarming experience. Plus, he’s a closeted crooner. Dude can sing like none other. Mac’s next mixtape should be a compilation of remixed ‘90s R&B love songs. And DJ Money should sing on every single track.
Towards the end of the evening, Mac took a moment to thank the diehards who had downloaded his Best Day Ever tape on May 11, 2011. And then he laughed and remarked that probably only half of the screaming fans had actually downloaded it on the drop-date. Mac took a minute to perform off his latest Delusional Thomas project. He told the audience that he wanted to introduce them to a special guest named Thomas. Thomas is Miller’s newest alias. He’s dark and sadistic, and he raps in this high-pitched voice. Sadly, Miller did not bring his high-pitched helium-huffing chops to the show. So Delusional Thomas was a little less delusional than usual.
After Mac performed a few songs off of his K.I.D.S. mixtape, the younger kids in the crowd headed home for the night. They probably had curfew, or something. But they missed the best part of the show. They missed the part where Mac Miller sat down at the keyboard to perform “Youforia.” It’s a magical track. And all of the hip-hop purists hate it. But they’re missing out. This song needs to be added to the playlist you started that has “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo on it. Now you might actually have a chance at making it to first base.
Mac finished the show with “Aquarium,” and the show wrapped just before midnight (which is virtually unheard of). Mac gave Calgary almost two hours of performance – one of the longest shows we’ve been given in a while. It showcased the comprehensive depth of all of the projects and genres Miller has under his belt. He’s got the tight rhymes. He nails the ballads. He can bring the harder verses, and he can turn up the bangers. And he has a really awesome snapback.
Review and photography by Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada