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Vince Staples Concert Review

Vince Staples
March 5th, 2017
The Granada - Lawrence, KS

Vince Staples
Long Beach, California rapper Vince Staples stopped in Lawrence on Sunday night on his 26 city Life Aquatic tour. Wes Anderson's film of the same name was screened (playing backwards and on mute) as fans filled the theater for the sold out show.

All of Staples' past performances in Lawrence and Kansas City had been full of crowd bantering -- often about University of Kansas basketball players. Sunday night's show featured no such chatter besides Staples introducing himself, thanking the crowd for attending, and noting how much he enjoyed performing in Lawrence.

The time he saved was was used to give fans an experimental and highly stimulating set. The screens at the back of the stage displayed videos of fish and other aquatic life to match the mood of each song. "War Ready" -- an aggressive cut from Staples' most recent release "Prima Donna" -- was paired with dark images of sharks swimming back and forth across the screen. His thin frame may not make it apparent, but tracks like "Señorita" and "Hands Up" show that Staples is capable of creating hip-hop music more harrowing and belligerent than many of the genre's biggest names.

Staples didn't indulge in the use of overbearing backing tracks or "3-2-1" countdowns. He rapped nearly every word to every song with conviction, even if the audience began to lose focus (which didn't happen too frequently). The only drawback to Staples' performance (the same as in past years) was his thin, raspy voice becoming buried under his abrasive instrumentals.

Kilo Kish
The last song of his encore, "Summertime," however, did become the exit soundtrack for a small stream of audience members who assumed "Norf Norf" would be the last song or didn't care for the timid composition.

Support for Staples was provided by Kilo Kish, an Orlando-born singer-songwriter who has done extensive amounts of collaboration with several modern hip-hop acts. Her theatrical opening set consisted mainly of songs from her 2016 full-length "Reflections In Real Time." Kish took on an intensely bubbly persona during her opening song "Hello, Lakisha" -- a fast-paced tune that could function as an opening number to a musical about her life.

Other songs from Kish's set possessed a more jittery, emotional element. After more than one song, Kish thrashed around on stage, throwing a suitcase on the ground and ripping out its contents or slamming a red rotary telephone back onto the hook repeatedly. Her dedication to her performance paired with her breathtaking R&B vocals put her in a league of her own (or perhaps with Janelle Monae). In addition to singing and songwriting, Kish has a background in visual art and fashion design. If she has any time leftover, she would likely be successful in a leap into acting. She didn't break character once.

Full photo gallery:


  1. Great article, nice photos. But a word of advice; next time don't talk trash on the guys next to you taking part in the same craft that you love. Especially when you're representing your own company that you work hard to make an image for and the guy next to you most likely has similar (or better) talent. Good way to burn bridges in an industry you'll undoubtedly need help, or at least support, in.

    1. I appreciate the kind words. What had I said that you considered to be trash talking? My tweet about there being 16 photographers was just about being cramped into the barricade.


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