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A$AP Ferg & Tory Lanez Concert Review

A$AP Ferg & Tory Lanez
June 12th,  2016
Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland - Kansas City, MO

A$AP Ferg
If you need evidence of how odd, yet wildly entertaining a rap show in 2016 can be, look no further than the Level Up Tour. Harlem's self proclaimed trap lord A$AP Ferg and Toronto R&B rapper Tory Lanez touched down at The Midland on Sunday night for a co-headlined show.

The pair did not emerge together and didn't perform together until near the end of the show. The set began with both of their DJ's going back and forth spinning popular rap songs with some dubstep drops thrown in to please the youthful, party-ready crowd. Lanez was the first of the two to hit the stage. While Ferg is certainly not on the superstar level of his A$AP Mob counterpart Rocky, he is highly recognizable and has a string of hits that every college-aged rap fan knows at least a few of. Lanez does not share this level of fame. Although he does receive somewhat frequent airplay on urban radio, only two of his songs have charted in the U.S. Some may just know him from his beef after Drake rapped, "All you boys in the new Toronto want to be me a little," on his song "Summer Sixteen" and the two fired several shots back and forth.

Lanez trotted across the stage, golden cross chains swinging, as he performed his first two songs. Almost as quickly as he emerged, he sprinted off the stage as Ferg's introduction boomed over the PA. Ferg emerged to an uproarious response from the somewhat small, but tightly compressed crowd. The top balcony had been blocked off and only the three closest standing areas were filled. The overall and ball cap-clad rapper began with his debut album's opener "Let It Go," followed by the debaucherous sex anthem "Dump Dump." There isn't a more fun hook to shout out loud as, "I fucked yo' bitch/She sucked my dick."
Tory Lanez levels up

Lanez' next mini-set included a somewhat lengthy feature where he quizzed the audience on whether they knew a couple '90's R&B songs as he sang along to them, followed by his platinum hit "Say It." Despite Lanez' numerous attempts at interacting with the crowd, it usually came off as forced and generic. When a singer you may not care too much about keeps yelling "What city are we in," and "What's my name," it can begin to grate on you a bit. Many fans became visibly disinterested during some of Lanez' antics.

During Ferg's next set of tracks he took a timeout to speak about the previous day's shooting in Orlando, Florida. In his brief yet charismatic speech, Ferg asked that we not let race, orientation, or religion separate us. "I don't give a fuck what you is. We all equal in this motherfucker," he proclaimed as the crowd cheered in support. If you still don't believe Ferg is an outstanding character, he also bought hot dogs for his fans outside after they had to wait in the rain.

Lanez' final solo set was definitely his most thrilling. I can't be completely sure, but it did seem like he had been relying on his backing track a bit too heavily during some songs earlier in the set. He did sing some parts a cappella and showed off a great set of pipes, but during choruses it appeared that he often lip-synced. If there was an acceptable time to do this however, it was when Lanez had the crowd hold him upright by his feet as he sang. He also unknowingly directed the crowd's view to Tech N9ne's balcony seat as he asked that they move him in that direction. After several minutes of crowdsurfing through the GA section, Lanez was hoisted up to the lower balcony level and he ended the last song from there. Yes, he quite literally leveled up.

The final set included songs from both rappers including "Diego," "New Level," and their collaborative track "Line Up The Flex." While the tour overall did seem to be a bit of a mismatch and the tagteam element was a bit strange,  Ferg and Lanez both gave performances that their respective fanbases were thrilled about.

A surprise opening set by Chicago rapper Dreezy happened before the main event. Dreezy and her DJ played a set similar to the one they did at Future's April show at UMKC. Her "Chiraq" remix came first, followed by one or two original songs, remixes and covers of several popular songs, and completed with radio hit "Body." One of the covers was "Uber Everywhere" by MadeInTyo who was scheduled to be the tour's opener, but dropped off due to a dental surgery. While Dreezy was brought in on short notice and wanted to get the crowd excited, it would have been nice if more than half the set was original material.

Loogey (whom you may remember from his set opening for Slim Jesus) was the local support. His half-sung choruses and rhymes about the Royals, I-35, and getting drunk are exactly what's to be expected from a tattooed white rapper who bartends at The Riot Room. While very technically skilled and a bit less corny, Loogey is only about a decade removed from being the next Mac Lethal. If his ambition is to blow up or even tour nationally, he will have to change things up a bit. The set also included a live guitarist playing along to the songs with some fun blues licks thrown in as intros and outros. Fellow Kansas Citian Domineko also made an appearance. His on-stage chemistry with Loogey was impressive and made things a little more exciting.

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