These Things Happen(ened) in Toronto with G-Eazy [Review]
Toronto, ON - The Mod Club Theatre would have been nothing without the sea of “Eazy” t-shirts and bare midriffs belonging to fans of Oakland rapper, G-Eazy, who would soon take the stage for his Toronto stop on the These Things Happen Tour (featuring Maybach Music Group’s, Rockie Fresh and other special guests).
The 24-year-old has made a name for himself by living the dream- releasing music and touring as an independent artist. I was initially unsure of how the night would play out because of those facts, alone. Artists come in-and-out of Toronto all of the time. But not all of them can pack a venue. Fans stood inside in groups from wall-to-wall; most of them coming in packs of five or more. If you tuned out the venue’s weird choice of pre-show music (especially for a rap show), you could hear girls chattering away about their intricate plans to meet G-Eazy at his bus to get pictures, after all was said-and-done. These fans were not playing- they were there to see the show and party, and were not leaving until they got what they came for…G-Eazy, himself.
First up, just after 8 p.m. – and to my surprise – was Toronto’s Blake Carrington. I say this only because of conversation fluttering around about Tory Lanez opening, but I was far from disappointed after Carrington’s jaw-dropping performance. Backed by DJ Romeo, Carrington rolled out a setlist that literally had the entire building shaking. “If Toronto is the best city in the world, make some motherf**king noise!” he yelled out. The audience reaction was incredible. What was even more surreal was the response the audience had to Carrington telling a story about how he had just gotten home from SXSW, followed by two joints that he had performed for the Texas crowd.
Assuming the titles: “Wussup Doe” and “Aw Yeah”, the audience jumped on command and pushed up to the front just to reach out to Carrington, who was hailing up most of the front row with a smile on his face. Prior to his exit, he demanded that the audience give Rockie Fresh and G-Eazy the same amount of energy that they had given him. I have never seen an opening act engage and move a crowd the way Carrington did, and can only imagine what a show would be like with him as the headliner.
The crowd didn’t seem to mind waiting another 20 minutes between sets while the venue’s playlist spun Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Then, around 8:45 p.m. came DJ Money, who would begin his set with Kanye West’s “All of The Lights” to hype up the crowd before Chicago’s Rockie Fresh took the stage to perform “How We Do.”
Rockie Fresh had the crowd wrapped around his finger after he shouted out Toronto, and praised our beautiful women. He called on everyone to assist him with his next track, titled “I’m Wit It.” And they did without hesitation. “You wit it?” Fresh asked, pointing his microphone out to the crowd. Without missing a beat, “I’m wit it!” echoed back at him. My favourite part of shows like these will always be watching an artist feel genuine love from fans, new or old, in places they least expect it.
Next up, Fresh brought out YP (who got lots of love from a shorty in the front row, I might add), to perform “Insane”. After taking a sip from a bottle stationed on the DJ’s table, Fresh told the audience: “I did this song with Casey Veggies,” before the beat dropped for “Aladdin”. “God is Great” followed. “Aw man, look at me, I’m becoming everything I wished I’d be. I got bitches, I got cake. Wake up everyday and I say…” sang Fresh, to which the crowd belted back “God is great!” between cheering.
To close his set, Fresh performed one of his first-ever tracks with MMG ringleader, Rick Ross- “You A Lie.” And what would a rap show be without the audience getting doused with water? Rockie Fresh’s crew stepped out with Super Soakers in hand and sprayed the crowd every time the words “I’m on fire” left Fresh’s mouth. Half of the audience, mostly female, ducked for cover in unison (self included), some even hiding behind other audience members, to avoid messing up their hair and makeup before man of the hour got a chance to see them. Fresh instructed fans to make some noise for G-Eazy, while he shook hands with the audience before heading backstage.
It was pushing 10 p.m. when drummer, Blake “Blizzy” Robinson, and keyboardist, Christoph Anderson stationed themselves on either side of the stage. “Gerald, Gerald, Gerald!” chanted the crowd as the lights dimmed. Blue lazers flashed around the venue as a neon-white sign lit up with G-Eazy’s name. If you blinked, you would have missed G-Eazy appear on the stage. He was dressed in black from head to toe. With his infamous slicked back hair and dark shades, he looked like something out of The Matrix. “Now I’m here bitch,” rapped G-Eazy, with a sly grin. “Far Alone” would be the first song of the night. “Toronto! What the f**k is up?” he shouted and jumped right into “Lady Killer” parts one and two.
The songs confirmed tone for the rest of the night- this party would not stop until the very last song. G-Eazy leaned over the stage to reach into the crowd. I expected most of his female fans to freak out, but the males reacted just as quickly. Some yelled out his stage name, some yelled out his government name. Whatever it was, they all wanted his attention. I didn’t quite understand it until he planted his feet on the top stair of his set, reached into his pocket and pulled out a comb to push back his hair that had already fallen out of place. I couldn’t figure out if his super power was hypnotizing the fans with his charming half-smile, or with the way he held a gaze. It really could’ve been a combination of both.
“I’ve been waiting to come to Toronto,” he told the audience. “I wanted to come to the great city of Toronto, and perform in a city like this. I kept thinking ‘that’ll be crazy, nah, that’ll never happen’. That must be nice, huh?” A perfect segue into his next songs, “Must Be Nice” and “Breathe”.
G-Eazy stood center stage, pausing almost between each word. He was soaking up the moment, making eye contact with everyone he could. G-Eazy, humbly, addressed the crowd again: “Now Toronto, I said what the f**k is up? My name is young Gerald- you might know me as G-Eazy. I come from a place called Oakland, California. I’m a long way from home right now, but y’all showin’ so much love in Toronto, I feel like I’m at home. Wussup! I would like to officially welcome you out to the These Things Happen Tour.”
Between whistles, clapping and the thunderous hollering, Toronto was confirming their appreciation for G-Eazy’s presence. He then gifted his fans with a track called “I Mean It” from his upcoming album, also titled These Things Happen. “You really wonder who’s next up? That conversation really ends here…” he rapped confidently, while his best friend, Marty Grimes stepped out to make it rain what looked like real dollar bills.
G-Eazy showed love to Toronto several times during the night, making it a point to alter his lyrics at any chance he got to shout out the city. “I’m in love with Toronto girls…” he sang, starting off one of his most popular songs “Tumblr Girls”. Christoph Anderson, his keyboardist, who is also featured on the track joined in to sing his verse. For the day-one fans, G-Eazy decided to play some throwback joints, but made sure to include anyone who had recently hopped on the G-Eazy train. “This is for my day-one fans! And shout-out to the new fans, because we always need more people out to the party.” “Endless Summer” and “Kings” came next. “Can we go back further than that?” he asked his fans. The cheering obviously meant “yes”.
“Fried Rice” took the audience to their peak, before he slowed it down. “Y’all got some of the baddest bitches in the world!” he smirked. “Yes we do!” yelled back a male fan. G-Eazy locked eyes with a girl in the front row, “I’ve been looking at you all night,” he told her. “If we were a thing, I’d be the type to start something with you for no reason at all…” Insert girls of all ages shrieking here. “…all for the makeup sex!” he laughed, continuing his set list with “Makeup Sex” before stopping to seduce another unsuspecting female audience member. “I start feeling myself when I’m drunk. I feel like the man and shit sometimes when I’m drunk. I swear I know what women want,” he started. He pointed at a girl whose eyes widened in disbelief, “If I had to take a guess in the whole wide world right now about what you want, I feel like I know.” He must’ve known, because without even taking a breath, the entire audience began to belt out the lyrics to “Marilyn Monroe”, a song documenting the ups and downs of a strained relationship. G-Eazy made sure this one was for the ladies as he climbed onto a speaker, sat down and held a girl’s face in his hands while he rapped the love song to her. Still in his element, he followed up with “Mad”- a lady killer he is.
“Toronto, I’ll be right back!” he said as he ran off the stage for a costume change, only to return a short time later in a white jersey with Rockie Fresh at his side to perform “Been On.” The show wound down with “Last Night” and “Run Around Sue.” At this point, girls had convinced their boyfriends to hoist them up on their shoulders. G-Eazy prompted them to move closer so that he could hold hands with them. I found the movement so genuine- if his fans were going to make the effort to get to him, he was going to make the effort to give himself to them.
Then came my favourite part of the night. We all go to shows where t-shirts, stickers and other types of merch are passed out. However, this was far from the standard. A crew member ran back and forth across the stage handing out black and white balloons that had “These Things Happen” written across them. Fans instantly blew up the party favours, and G-Eazy instructed the audience to hold on to them until he said otherwise.
“This is the last record tonight. I gotta keep it one thousand with you,” he paused and ran his hands through his gel-filled mane. “…without every single one of you tonight, I’m not on this stage. Without you, this music shit doesn’t mean shit. Y’all the reason I’m doing this shit. When this beat drops, I need you to make the balloons go crazy! You could be anywhere in the world, but you’re here fucking with us and I appreciate that.”
“Almost Famous” rang through the speakers whilst balloons floated around the crowd. The view was almost calming and cinematic in the way that time seemed to slow down- I was living during that song. That was a moment that could be labeled legendary, and it tied everything together perfectly. The fans wanted a party, and they got it.
Personally, I would’ve walked away happy after that, but the show wasn’t over just yet. Instead of stepping off of the stage to wait for the usual crowd call for an encore, G-Eazy remained front and center. “I suppose it wouldn’t be right to end right there. I suppose it wouldn’t be right to end this bitch without getting loaded!” I was not prepared for what happened next. G-Eazy’s entire crew ran on stage, including Rockie Fresh, YP, and the previously M.I.A, Tory Lanez, who stage dived while other crewmembers hosed the audience down once again. Though this time, they didn’t seem to mind.
G-Eazy’s ability to bounce back and forth between being the funny guy at the party, the mysteriously handsome man across the bar, and the flirtatious, sexy stranger makes it hard to not like him. He is a rapper turned rock star, who knows how to deliver to a fan-base that wants music to make them feel carefree. From the looks (and sounds) of him, he’s not the artist to rap about things he hasn’t actually done. He’s going to tell you where he’s been and where he’s going. G-Eazy is going to make sure you have a story to look forward to, whether it be of a wild night or a new experience. Congratulations, Gerald, and we wish you the best of luck on the rest of your tour.
A special thank you to Union Events for allowing HipHopCanada to be apart of this event.
Review written by Tia Gordon for HipHopCanada
Photography by Carley St. Onge
Twitter: @G_Eazy | @RockieFresh | @CarringtonWorld | @YP27
Tweets by @HipHopCanada