It’s been 10 years since I’ve last gone to a concert. I’d always wanted to go to one since then, but it was just that I never had the time in high school. So when I first stepped foot into an almost unrecognizable Wiegand Gym, I had no idea of what to expect. I got to the concert early, so there was a lot of space right in front of the stage. The fog machines and blinding strobe lights were already on, creating some cool effects as the stage crew continued to set up; at the same time, more and more people were arriving.
I came in not knowing too much about either of the performers: iLoveMakonnen and his opening act, K. Flay. To be honest I only knew of one song by iLoveMakonnen, which was Tuesday Ft. Drake (although I probably wasn’t the only one), while I had never listened to K. Flay’s music before. Luckily for me, seeing them perform live would help me learn a lot more about them as artists.
Starting off the entire concert, K. Flay came out on stage wearing a rocker outfit with ripped jeans, Doc Martens, and a black t-shirt. With her bassist, guitarist, and drummer starting off the song, I first expected to hear rock or alternative music. But once the Chicago-based artist started rapping the first verses of her single "Can’t Sleep," I found that the music instead was like nothing I’ve ever heard before. It was so unique where it combined alternative and rap. K. Flay’s indie-sounding voice transformed the rap into something totally different from the music heard on the radio, and the instrumentals complemented everything so well. All the while, the passion she had for her music was clearly shown on stage as she danced around all the flashing lights; because she was having a good time during her performances, the audience had a good time, too, with people swaying and bobbing their heads. Everyone, including myself, just had a chill time listening to her music. Some of the other songs in her set included "It’s Strange," a song by Louis The Child, which she is featured in, "Dreamers," "You Felt Right," and "FML." Her performance overall was worth watching, and it definitely put the crowd in a lively mood for iLoveMakonnen.
We all had to wait about 30 minutes after K. Flay’s performance to see iLoveMakonnen. During that time, the stage crew cleared the entire band’s set and left a turntable on stage for one of iLoveMakonnen’s DJs. Just from the stage setup you could tell just how different both artists’ music styles were, even though they both perform rap. Once the DJs came on stage, he started remixing popular rap and R&B singles to pump up the crowd. With all our hands in the air and everyone moving to the rhythm, the concert turned into a huge dance party. All the lights were flashing right in our eyes, and fog from the fog machines covered almost the entire front of the stage.
The DJ finally had iLoveMakonnen come out on stage, and he started off his set with his song "Home (Hating On Me)." He came across as cool, and wanted nothing but a fun time with the audience. Whether it was when he took a few minutes in between songs to talk to members of the audience, or when he’d wipe off his sweat on t-shirts and throw them into the crowd, he seemed to love interacting with all of us. The greatest thing was that the audience loved interacting with him and his music, too. His music gave off another feel-good vibe, but one different from that in K. Flay’s music; this was the R&B and rap music that we often hear nowadays. People right next to me were dancing the milly rock, a large crowd to my right was jumping and waving their hands in the air, and right behind me a number of people had made a dance circle. iLoveMakonnen got everyone in the gym to let loose and have a great time with him. Thirty minutes into the set he performed his hit, "Tuesday," and had everyone singing along. Other songs he played throughout the night were "I like Tuh," a song by Carnage which he’s featured in, "I Don’t Sell Molly No More," "Flippin All Night," and more.
Although I’m still recovering from all the music having been blasted in my ears (it was my fault, I stood right by the speakers), I had really great time. Activities Board did an amazing job organizing the entire concert, and it was obvious that everyone in the gym, including the performers, enjoyed themselves. I’m definitely satisfied with my first concert experience in a long time, and I can’t wait for all the other upcoming concert events this year.