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Post Malone Concert Review

Post Malone
February 22nd, 2016
The Granada - Lawrence, KS

Rewind to 2015. Unknown rapper Post Malone had released his song "White Iverson" on SoundCloud in February. It gained lots of listens, but didn't fully blow up until the summer. Between the time that it hit the major blogs and the time it hit the radio and the Billboard charts, teenage Texas rapper Post Malone touched down in Lawrence for a short performance at The Granada booked by the now infamous Project Laing crew -- who recently brought Waka Flocka Flame to the same stage for all of about 10 minutes before he stormed off due to problems with the DJ and promoters. Malone's half-hour set last June was expected though, due to the fact that he had only released a handful of songs. That night was fun, but I came back wanting more this time.

After the hyped-up crowd (with local celebrity Rory Fresco and super-producer 1Bounce looking on) had waited a couple hours through the openers, Malone walked onto the stage with a Bud Light in his hand, wearing a Royals jersey and a smile on his face. The smile almost never left his face for the entirety of the show. In what was a deja vu moment for me and anyone else at last year's show, Malone opened with his smash hit "White Iverson," a bold move for most performers with only one hit under their belt. It was evident though, that Malone's fans enjoyed his charming charisma and other songs enough to stay for the rest of his set.

Post Malone
After "Iverson," the gold-toothed rapper introduced his recent song "#mood," with lyrics aimed at haters on the Internet, rapped over 50 Cent's "Window Shopper" beat. Other cuts included atmospheric, get-rich anthem "Tear$," ode to fallen rappers and friends "Too Young," and N'Sync-referencing "Boy Bandz." Halfway into "White Iverson," it seems like a thin fog rolled over The Granada's pit area due to the sheer amount of sweat being produced from fans jumping and dancing. Granada crew member Jesse Schuler later told me he hadn't seen a show get the place so messed up in a while.

"White Iverson" was then performed one last time before he left. While I love the song, Malone has at least a handful of other songs I've never seen him perform before that I would've enjoyed seeing. While it was again a short set, Malone did an excellent -- for someone performing rap music for only a year -- job of entertaining hundreds of college kids, myself, and a small group of middle school kids there who squealed after getting the chance to high-five him during the show. With a debut release coming later this year, I can only hope that next time Malone will return with a full show.

At the beginning of the night, after an extended DJ set from the always t'd up Yung Grandpa (guy is the only person I know bumping Sicko Mobb on a regular basis), local hip-hop collective Vivid Zebra took the stage. The group is made up of a handful of rappers and producers from Lawrence, KS. The group's eclectic, off-kilter style was a curveball that the party-ready college town crowd was not ready to hit. While many of the group's songs are sonically similar to Post Malone's the audience was not in the mood to digest a set of new songs that weren't Post Malone hits or trap songs.

Zebra member Raymond quietly sang on many of the songs and the buzz of the crowd drowned him out at most points. One disgruntled audience member even went as far as to say that, "This n**** looks like he's in Mumford & Sons." Emcee Ricky Roosevelt did show some promising material that had many heads bobbing. The kids weren't ready for it, but Vivid Zebra definitely offered an interesting performance.

Aspen Indigo
Kansas City collective Mental High Music Group was the other opening act. Their lineup often shifts for each performance. This night's lineup included group leader Les Paul joined by Addy A$tra and Aspen Indigo. Aspen Indigo was the first of the three up. Indigo bounded onto the stage in a crop top and a pair of joggers with tightly-braided hair to match the night's headliner. Her style of conscious stoner rap is a popular one, but not immediately a turn-off. Juxtaposed to her physical nimbleness and dancing mood was a very stiff flow and a voice so timid it often sounded like it was missing from the mix.

Addy Astra offered a similar performance to his predecessor. Although sounding a bit more experienced, Astra's tunes failed to catch on and left most of the crowd dead. At one point he asked his DJ to end a song, but it continued on for a minute as he awkwardly walked around the stage not rapping. He sounds better online.

A show highlight, however, was created during a one-song guest appearance by local rapper SuperShaqGonzoe. The rapper unleashed his ball-to-the-walls banger "Bounce," while spraying the crowd with water and performing a semi-successful stage dive as the song's hook, "Bounce with me/Got an ounce with me," shook the theater.

MHMG founder Les Paul came after Astra. Paul sounded very polished, he's been around for a minute. His style of nostalgic, Midwest-centric hip-hop is a great choice if you're in the mood for it, but again, it simply didn't quench the thirst of the rowdy crowd. His opening performance at last year's Joey Bada$$ show was received much more warmly to that crowd of backpackers and old school hip-hop lovers.

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