By the time I arrived at Liberty Hall on Monday night, local rapper Approach’s set was ringing loud and clear from outside. The crowd was already thick (lines were forming outside as early as 6:30 p.m.) and folks were ready to reinvent Monday from mundane to marvelous.
Approach is by far one of the best performers in the area. He didn’t spend a single second of his set standing still. He constantly darted around the stage, jumped into the crowd and kept everyone grooving. There is honestly no better way to get a crowd hyped up than with an Approach set. Hometown boy did all right.
Blueprint was one of the best treats of the night. He seriously made some beautiful music. Accompanied by a smooth DJ and a beardy bass player, he rattled off cheeky rhymes full of anger. This guy had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.
He also got to flex his musical muscle on various instruments, including a keytar. I don’t think I’ll ever see a more eclectic rap performance. Where else can you find a beardy bassist with a metal streak teaming up with a DJ and a keytar-clad rapper?
Here he is showing off his musical skills (he starts rapping at about 2:08 in):
Just as his album was dropping, Evidence played to an enthusiastic crowd in Lawrence. When he asked, a good chunk of the audience admitted they hadn’t heard of him before. But by the end of the show, everyone knew his style.
The L.A.-based rapper was more chatty (and smiley) than the other night’s performers, and his lyrics were seriously clever and adorable. I was particularly fond of his homage to live shows. In fact, it won over the majority of the crowd.
He kept the interaction going, and even played around with cameras belonging to a couple of audience members. As I noted earlier, if you didn’t know him, he made sure you’d remember him. By the end of the set, he had established a real connection with the crowd.
Here he is performing a new song just after unwrapping his brand new album (which just came out today) onstage.
It didn’t take long for it to get nice and sweaty in Liberty Hall. Just before Atmostphere took the stage, fans had crammed into every aisle and corner of the venue.
Atmosphere didn’t disappoint. Slug told the audience he had consumed just a little too much alcohol the night before. “If you had a number, I would have called in!” he yelled out after just a few songs. What a trooper.
Nonetheless, the set was just as energetic and popping as the laser lights that shot out from the stage. They gave several shout-outs to the locals, even though I suspect most of the fans there were out-of-towners. Even the stoners in the crowd were digging the group’s energy. Considering a lot of Atmosphere’s popularity stems from touring (this wasn’t their first time in Lawrence), it’s no surprise the set was so enjoyable.
For a full photo gallery of the show, click here.