Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Concert Review: Kid Cudi @ Bloomsburg

In September when I first noticed that Kid Cudi was coming to my neck of the woods to visit Bloomsburg University, I circled it on my schedule as a must-see. Forget that he's my favorite artist not named Drake or that I already gained an appreciation for his live act last year when I saw Scotty open for Lady Gaga...I was really excited to hear material off his new album live and saw it as a great opportunity to get an up and close look that would be infinitely more intimate than seeing him from a distance when he opened for Gaga at Susquehanna.

I was scouring ticket availability for the whole month of October, finally finding out that tickets were supposed to go on sale Oct 13th to students, then get released to the public a few days later. It all sounded fine and know, except for tickets completely selling out in 3 hours to students and as a result, the tickets never making it the public. Shit! No worries, Stub Hub right? No dice, not even a listing for the event...Craigslist? One listing that lasted less than a day and tickets went for $15 over face, which I gladly would have paid had I fully known the scarcity of supply. The latter part of October was pretty frustrating figuring out slowly that tickets did not leave the campus and there was no availability online. So I ask you, what would you do given the circumstances with tickets and the concert being an hour and a half away?

After wrestling with the decision for oh...I dunno...maybe a few hours that was highlighted by the encouragement of my wonderful girlfriend (who somehow understood the meaning of the concert to me despite only having known for less than two months), thought what the hell, let's go up there and see if we can find a way in. It was sort of a landmark move for me since I'm usually the one who buys tickets the day they come out so that last second scrambles can be avoided. Sounded like an intriguing adventure, nothing else to do on a Sunday night let's be honest the Cowboys are awful and felt like seizing the opportunity...after all, not everyday you get to see Cudi the week before his album comes out right? (Even though I saw Drake perform in Philly coincedentally right before his album was released...weird...but awesome nonetheless)

Fast forward to now standing in line at the door with the long line of students who coeds...had tickets and there were exactly ZERO scalpers/students looking to sell. What was odd too was that once the initial rush of students got in the door, there was no secondary rush or even a steady trickle in of latecomers, something I had never seen before. So where did that leave me and my girl MeLo, alone outside of the doors, ticketless, looking inside at the metal detectors, plotting our next move. In a "what do we have to lose" , sort of cut the bullshit, might as well ask move, I went inside and sheepishly boldly explained to the student who was working the door that we didn't have tickets and were bummed it was sold out. The lady without hesitation says, "You can buy them inside, go ahead". Wait what?? (first pick jaw up off floor, then back the bus up) As I walked up to the metal detectors, I wasn't greeted with the same answer by other workers, who instead told me it was sold out. But...after waiting another minute, I got a final answer from the lead volunteer who wasn't a student that walked up and pointed toward the ticket booth where they did in fact STILL have tickets for sale. We explained we weren't students and proceeded to pay the face value for non-students of $35 as we walked away from the ticket booth with a feeling like we had just gotten away with a misdemeanor...#ThatShitDoesntUsuallyHappen

When walking into the high school gymnasium Chip tha Ripper was already a couple bars deep on a track, kicking off the show as everyone was still getting situated. Since no opener was announced, I was pleasantly surprised to see him onstage. My thoughts immediately moved on to what if he did that All Talk track that sampled Dance Yrself Clean by LCD badass would that be to see live? way they'll play that right? Hope is a powerful thing, but you gotta be realistic right?

After about five or so songs, the audience had been sufficiently warmed up and didn't have to wait more than 20 or so minutes to be greeted by Mr. Rager himself. Check out the concert entrance below, which coincedentally is the lead track on Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr.Rager, Scott Mescudi vs. The World...
Off top the crowd energy was palpable and despite the audience not being very aware of his new stuff, seeing that it hadn't been released yet, they were still head nodding in acceptance the duration of the show. What I really liked was his mix of old and new stuff and to be honest I was really surprised he played so many of his new songs. That's the main reason why I went though, so overall I was impressed with his mix of songs.

My favorite new track he performed off his new album had to be Marijuana, which came off surprisingly harmonic as Cudi started the track off acapella. Definitely captured my attention and was probably one of the first ever performances of the track live. Give it a look...
In general, I don't mind the vulgarity or talk of drugs in songs as long as there is some artistry behind it and it's delivered in a passionate, non-threatening in point the song above which comes off as more or less a tribute to his favorite plant in the world, as he takes on a gentle tone in praise. Turns out to be a beautiful track if you can just listen and zone out to it.
As he moved through song after song I couldn't help but notice how much better he is to witness in a smaller venue. His music is personal, it's deep and very artistic, so hearing it up close in a very spacious gymnasium enhanced the experience for me. Without a doubt, the highlight for me came when Chip joined him on stage to sing a few songs...and when I say a few songs they did the one song I thought there was no way in hell they'd play, All Talk. Shouts out again to Cudi, who is single handedly the reason for me becoming familiar with great bands like LCD Soundsystem and Ratatat...
For "just messing around in the studio", the track above had a serious ripple effect in my fandom and expansion of musical tastes.

You could tell the concert was winding down and coming down the back stretch when he finished up his newer stuff like his track Don't Play This Song with Mary J and his one minute interlude We Aight (Wake You Mind Up) and finally finishing with Mr. Rager, Erase Me and everyone's new favorite Ghost (below)...
Ghost is still probably my favorite current track on the new album, it's the best as far as inspirational and introspective lyrics are concerned. After finishing the new stuff he continued on to his upbeat tracks like Memories and the Crookers remix to Day n Nite. Like the great cerebral mind reader he is, he read my mind in playing my my three favorite tracks from his last album Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Soundtrack to My Life, Cudi Zone and finishing with Pursuit of Happiness.

Looking back my one take away was the set list...serious, serious love goes out to the choice of tracks. It ended up being an ideal mix of everything he's done that I'm a fan of. I'm usually hard to please when it comes to nailing the set list, but daps & lbs, Cudi killed it and even though I'm still warming up to his new album and am pretty sure I'm not going to end up liking it as much as the first, it's still shaping up to be a great album. Similar to Drake's album, the expectations were so high after the first album, anything he put out was going to fall short...but that's to be expected and as long as he keeps putting out his brand of emotionally raw, out there, melodic music I will have absolutely nothing to complain about.
Do him a favor and go cop his album here, here or here.

Click here to get to my YouTube Channel where all the video are posted


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