Live Review: A$AP Rocky @ Eatons Hill
Let me preface this review by saying that it was my first, proper hip-hop show. And what an initiation. After arriving at Eatons Hill Hotel and seeing a line 200 metres long stretching out into the carpark, it was apparent that A$AP Rocky pulls a crowd. I didn’t know what to expect from the 27-year-old Harlem rapper, but his energy, genuine passion and excitement, and impressive tracks didn’t disappoint.
Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) brought Atlanta local Raury along as support on his Australian tour, celebrating the release of his second studio album, ‘At. Long. Last. A$AP’ (2015). Mixing soul, hip hop, and folk, 19-year-old Raury (real name Raury Deshawn Tullis) was an interesting choice for support. He was piggy-backed on stage by a robust security guard and hooked the crowd in with hits like Gods Whisper and Devils Whisper, both tracks a counterpoint to each other.
However, he struggled to keep the audience’s attention with his slower, atmospheric folk/rap set. The crowd were clearly riled to see Rocky and Raury’s bohemian rap was possibly too low-key to begin. He delivered an endearing and sincere performance, with some nice solo-guitar tracks, but at times his voice came across a little flat, with his DJ’s use of auto-tune attempting to cover his vocal struggles.
After he was piggy-backed off-stage, the anticipation for Rocky’s arrival was palpable. Free standing room in the venue quickly filled up, with the crowd almost doubling in size. They weren’t disappointed either, as Rocky made his entrance by jumping through the back curtains and straight into his first track Lord Pretty Flacko Joyde 2. The relatively short song eased the crowd into one hell of sweaty and wild night.
Rocky moved around the stage with confidence, riling up the already rabid audience with his energy and charisma. The heat from the crowd quickly made the air conditioning feel non-existent and Rocky and his crew were moving around with such energy that the stage quickly became slick with sweat. Between songs Rocky yelled that it was “slippery as fuck”, so took off his shoes to perform. This was quite a move for the rapper who is almost as famous for his fashion as he is his music.
He was joined by fellow A$AP Mob members, including A$AP Nast, to assist in tracks like Hella Hoes and his breakout single Purple Swag, which put Rocky on the map after it was released on A$AP Yams tumblr back in 2011. The set was in full swing when he dropped his hit Goldie, from his debut 2013 album ‘Long. Live. A$AP’, hyping up the sold-out crowd and getting everyone singing along.
The passing of Yams (from an accidental overdose) was commemorated by the crew, with a stirring Yams tribute track. But the mood wasn’t sombre for long, with an interesting addition to the set-list from A$AP Ferg’s track Shabba, which Rocky features on. The song still went off though, with the catchy chorus impossible not to sing along to. For a very, very white girl, even I felt a little gangsta.
The energy in the room was intense as Rocky announced that his last song would be Wild For The Night, possibly his most famous track, which features the synth stylings of Skrillex. Undoubtedly the track of the night, jets of smoke shot up from the stage as Rocky and his crew leaped around, the audience jumping along with them.
But before he left, Rocky rounded out the night with an encore of PESO, which was released as his official debut single in 2011. The audience lapped it up, by this stage most were in a hazy state of sweaty fatigue and spellbound by Rocky’s presence (or quite possibly high AF), but no-one looked like they didn’t just have the time of their lives. Rocky came, he saw, and he most definitely conquered the Brisbane crowd.
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