The DAMN Tour

I have been a fan of Kendrick Lamar for quite some time now.  To see how much he’s grown as an artist is just simply amazing. The first time I saw him live was back in 2009 or 2010 at 1OAK in Las Vegas. The next time was at an intimate art gallery space in Brooklyn.  I’ll save the story behind how I finessed my way in but it was definitely worth it seeing that it was right after the release of Good Kid Maad city.  The time after that, I saw him again in  Brooklyn, Williamsburg to be exact, and he did a show for like $10 or $15.  This was around the time the Meek Mill beef was introduced  and quickly ended once Kendrick made it clear he was not a force to be reckoned with.  The next time I saw him live in concert was right after my birthday celebration in Vegas in 2015.  I literally hopped off my flight and went to Terminal 5 in New York to catch Kunta’s Groove Sessions.  Something about him and his performances that I never want to miss.  So here we are now to speak about the DAMN Tour.

When the album first released I couldn’t wait to hear it.  There was so much anticipation for it.  I wanted to know the theme he would have for this one, the overall tone of the album, if any artists would be addressed, etc.  After hearing the complete project,  to say I was elated would be an understatement.  I listened to both Element and Lust over and over again, loved the vocals from both he and Rihanna on Loyalty, reminisced about my own childhood with Fear and smiled uncontrollably on my train ride to work when I heard ‘God’.  At the time when the news about the DAMN Tour was released,  I stayed in New York and decided that I wanted to experience the show in Los Angeles.  Fast forward a few months and I not only relocated to California but kept my wish and saw Kendrick live at the 2nd show in Staples Center.  To be able to attend the show in LA meant everything to me.

Before the show, Kendrick tweeted about a pop-up being hosted at Blends in Downtown Los Angeles.  Of course I stopped by and was able to snag a tee.  The wall was plastered with the iconic picture from the DAMN album and filled with merch including DAMN tees, coach jackets stamped with ‘Pray for Me’ on the front and tour dates on the back, hats and hoodies.  The pop-up setup was very simple but effective.  Okay now I can re-focus on the tour highlights.

The tour opened with the high energy of DRAM and Travis Scott.  Both did a phenomenal job live but the performance from Travis Scott on the eagle throughout his set was pretty epic.  The Butterfly Effect and Goosebumps would have to be my favorites of the night from him.  Now it was time for Corn Row Kenny himself to make an appearance.  The moment was finally here.  A brief news clipping aired while smoked filled the stage and then Kendrick appeared with a yellow tailored fit for his DNA opening performance.  The crowd went wild!  As the night continued, Kendrick stayed true to the Kung Fu Kenny theme with interactive film scenes and live fighting scenes to add to the theatrics of the show.  Although this was a tour for DAMN, I loved how he gave the audience hits from prior albums.  He comforted us with  “Alright” and let us knew that no matter what even when being tested in this thing we call life, we will be alright.  The momentum of the crowd continued to heighten with each song from Good Kidd Maad City including ‘Money Trees’ and ‘Swimming Pools’ and we even got to his infamous untitled album with his performance of  ‘Levitate’.  Everyone sang every word and we even got to show our true talent with our acapella version of ‘Humble’.   I watched all of the performances of each song in pure amazement and awe.  I know I actually experienced this show to the highest potential because I didn’t get a lot of video.  I wanted to be in the moment and actually enjoy the show.  The final song the Compton born legend performed was very fitting; the song entitled ‘GOD’.  I will continue to follow him throughout his musical journey and I’m so glad he shares his life and experiences with us through his lyricism.  You may not grasp the full message the first go round or second or third.  But once you really listen and consume his music the way he intended, there are meaningful and powerful messages throughout each album.  Kendrick Lamar I thank you!  Enjoy my instastory below and a few snapshots of the pop-up.

Kendrick Lamar- The DAMN Tour, Staples Center from Lifeofacitygal

Nobody Safe Tour

If anyone knows me well, you would be sure to know I’m a huge fan of Future.  The first date for the Nobody Safe Tour in Atlanta, the best city ever 🙂 , was on May 5th.  Without a question when my best friend asked me to attend, I was there!  First flight out of NYC to my hometown to share this moment. Okay, so normally Cinco de Mayo consumes this day without a doubt but this May 5th would definitely be different.  Of course, we indulged in the festivities and had margaritas for a little pre-game but the hype for the evening was this concert.  Unfortunately, it had to be the coldest day Atlanta had so far in 2017 and it was rainy.  Never mind these circumstances, the show must go on and my excitement for it remained at its highest.

After standing in the “mist” and cold for about 15 min, we made our way to our seats and waited for the show openers.  To my surprise, Young Thug graced the staged first.  He sung a few songs, repped his hometown of course, and wrapped up in about 20 min or so I would say.  Ok no biggie.  Enough time to grab snacks and wait for the next appearances.  Moments later, the man of the hour appeared.  Singing hit after hit and really giving the fans a show to remember.  Unfortunately, the Migos did not make our show or any other guests for that matter.  Since this is Future’s hometown and he’s one of the most popular rappers in the industry, I just knew he would bring out a slew of artists as surprise guests.  To our surprise the only guest was Trouble, an up and coming rapper in Atlanta.  Being the huge fan that I am, I could care less but I did travel many miles to share this moment.  Come on Hendrix lol.

As the night continued, I remembered thinking to myself and then telling my best friend “Future has arrived”.  To see the sold-out crowd and to be in Atlanta for this was monumental for me.  I often gazed the crowd to see them just as hyped as I was to hear the Atlanta classic “Itchin”, seeing them sing word for word to “March Madness” and the reaction to ‘Mask Off” was unreal.  Future has definitely created a lane of his own lane and continues to deliver, especially from his latest project Hndrxx.  I loved the production and melodic tunes from this one.  Just might be deemed my favorite thus far.  Nonetheless, I can honestly say I genuinely enjoyed this show.  Didn’t get a ton of photos or videos this time around, just lived in the moment for once. I did capture a few good moments 🙂 .

XIX Tour

imagePromptly at 8pm the lights dimmed in the Highline Ballroom and the first opening act appeared.  After a few songs, the artist revealed his name.  Major Myjah.  Major definitely wowed the crowd with his melodic tunes and kept the energy high with a few upbeat songs as well.  I absolutely loved his energy and the vibe from his song with the hook “California Living” was perfect for this crowd.  Shortly thereafter, the second act, Candace Boyd, also held down her own with very relatable tracks.  Some about being in love, others about the break up and indifference you feel afterwards with her track titled”What’s her name”.  The ability for both of these artists to capture the crowd and keep the energy flowing throughout was very admirable for two up and coming music artists.  Hats off to them!

Now it was time.  The fluorescent XIX sign was lit and Ro James appeared with a bright orange jumpsuit resembling that of a car mechanic, round gold rimmed frames, a striped hat with a patterned scarf underneath.  Oh so fitting for his Eldorado album.  The soulfulness and R&B was heard in every song that he sang with much passion and clarity so you could hear every word that he spoke.  I always immediately think of the perfect mix of Maxwell and Prince when I hear him sing.  James’ vocal abilities and variation in range shown on his tracks automatically captivate you.  I just sat and watched him lay it all out on the line while he sang “Everything” and knew it was very much heartfelt.  I appreciated the intimacy and personal stories that James shared as well.  From the naming of his album, as his first car was a 92′ Eldorado, the love he experienced with a Scorpio and his incomparable relationship with ‘Lisa’.  Or the relationship he shared that allowed him to make my favorite track ‘A.D.I.D.A.S.’ and the influence from his mother to write a song not just about love or relationships but other real life factors that we all face, hence the creation of ‘Holy Water’.  I’m sure I can pinpoint a couple favorites that are in fact your go to’s that you can relate to.  To hear Ro explain the meanings behind the songs and share the stories with fans put his music into a different perspective for me.

As the night progressed, James performed songs from his 3-part EP Coke, Jack and Cadillacs as well as Eldorado.  Some of the crowd favorites were ‘Already Knew That’, ‘Burn’ and A.D.I.D.A.S.  Toward the end of the show,  James did an acoustic opening of his hit ‘Permission’ and his band joined shortly after for the grand finale.  To say I enjoyed this concert is definitely an understatement.  I am definitely a fan of Ro James but left an even bigger one.  I  believe I recall James advising he had been doing music for about 10 years.  Well Ro, job well done.  Wishing him continued success.  More pictures below and check out the live video in the video section.

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Summer Sixteen Tour

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The day had  finally arrived. After paying almost 4x the face value for a ticket to one of the most anticipated shows this summer, the wait was finally over.  It was time to see Aubrey Graham, the 6’s own, along with my absolute favorite, Future, take the stage and give me a concert I should never forget.  Especially considering the amount I paid for it.  Gotta love resale right?  I hadn’t seen Drake since his ‘Nothing was the Same’ concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn back in 2013.  That show was pretty epic so my expectation for Summer 16′ was pretty high.  OVO artists Roy Woods and Dvsn opened the concert which was fine by me since I’m a fan of both.  I will admit the tone of the concert changed almost immediately since both artists are more on the R&B scale to me.  However, as I stated before, I’m a fan of them so I appreciated their performances equally as much.

The moment had arrived.  The lights dimmed and surprisingly Drake appeared on the stage first.  I don’t think anyone expected him to come out first.  Nonetheless, it was hit after hit, anthem after anthem that played throughout the garden.  Just to confirm, he should be signed to Hit-Boy because he literally has all the hits boy. Okay sorry for that line but I had to say it.  Drake’s set list was far from disappointing.  The crowd, including myself, sung line after line the entire night.  Even for those who will not willingly admit Drake is their favorite artist, you were bound to hear that one Drake song that you consider a classic.

Future came out about half way through and, seeing that he’s my favorite, he can do no wrong in my eyes.  March Madness and Stick Talk will never get old to me.  Bringing Young Thug, better known now as Jeffery, as a surprise guest was an added bonus too.  Of course, Drizzy came back and they performed songs from ‘What a Time to be Alive’; ending the the joint performance with Jumpman.  Drake then took back over and followed through with more hits.  I will admit I was shocked Rihanna didn’t come out to join him to perform ‘Work’ but the crowd held her down.  So after all of the criticism and never ending debates of Drake and his writing ability, “beef” with numerous rappers and arguments deciding if his music is actually rap or pop, one thing we cannot deny is the man’s talent.  He definitely has a huge influence on our generation and is not going anywhere anytime soon.  Views is continuing to chart and like it or not, Aubrey Graham has made his mark and is here to stay.  I definitely enjoyed this show and even contemplated going to see it again the following night.  Check out the merch below and be sure to watch the video too.

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Only in NYC

Free Love- live performance by Marc E. Bassy (Ace Hotel, New York, NY) from Lifeofacitygal on Vimeo.

Only in New York can you go to brunch and randomly run into one of your favorite artists. That’s exactly what happened to me. While having brunch in the Soho, I ran into the one and only Marc E. Bassy. We had a quick convo about his music and recent performance with G-Eazy the week prior at the The Endless Summer Tour. He then mentioned he was having a new EP dropping the following Friday and was having an intimate show coming up if I wanted to attend. I was stoked!

The show took place at the Ace Hotel in Flatiron, New York and was nothing short of amazing. Open bar and great summer vibes are always a good combination for a great night. Marc performed songs from his album ‘East Hollywood’ including my favorites ‘Free Love’ and Some things never change’. Since the new EP, Groovy People, was coming out he made sure to perform songs from that as well. My favorite from this one is ‘Subway Car’. Who knew a typical day out brunching would turn into not only meeting one of my favorite artists right now but also a personal invite to the show. Could life be any better? Marc E. Bassy is truly talented and has a great voice. Be sure to cop his new EP, Groovy People, and check out his other music as well. You won’t be disappointed.

Some things never change- Marc E. Bassy (Ace Hotel, New York, NY) from Lifeofacitygal on Vimeo.

Gucci’s Homecoming

On July 22nd, the world was finally able to hear the long awaited album ‘Everybody Looking’ from Atlanta’s own, Gucci Mane aka Guwop. Before there was knowledge of this album and its release date, upon Gucci’s return home, he announced the ‘Gucci and Friends Tour’ that would be hosted at The Fox in downtown Atlanta. My bestie, whom I love soooo much, purchased a ticket for me and just stated do my best to try to make it back down home. I immediately thought if Gucci’s home, I’m home and of course, I made it happen so I could be in attendance to this. The anticipation of what he would start the show with, which friends would also be performing, how many of my favorites would he perform, were all thoughts that I had until the lights dimmed and there he was.

In true Gucci fashion, it was only right to open the concert with one of my personal favorites ‘First Day Out’. Zaytoven, a highly renowned producer for many of Gucci’s classics, played the piano and we all started rapping the words. The show continued with many other hits, some mainstream and others for true fans of Gucci, such as Freaky Girl, Trap House,I’m a Dog, Go Head, Photoshoot and So Icy just to name a few. Now to the guests. I was overwhelmed with pure joy when I saw Future come out to one of his DS2 tracks, Stick Talk. Shortly thereafter he was joined by the one and only Drake. They performed Jumpman together from their #1 album, What a Time to be Alive and Drake also blessed us with Enemies and joined Gucci for their new summer tune, Back on Road. As if Future and Drake weren’t enough, Gucci’s friends also included OJ da Juiceman, 2 Chainz, Young Dolph and Peewee Longway. To say the concert was great, would be an understatement. Seeing that I was born and raised in Atlanta and love all things about my city, Gucci Mane was definitely a huge part of my lif, especially back in my college days for sure. To be home for this and to rap along to all of my favorite Gucci classics right alongside my best friend was definitely a night to remember.

 

Rhythm & Blues

On last Friday, I was able to see a live performance from Kenneth Whalum at Rockville Live. Shameless to say, I never heard of him until recently when the word spread about the show. It was a very intimate setting; definitely reminded me of a scene out of Love Jones with the rhythmic jazz softly playing in the background while the saxophone echoed as Kenneth played along with his band. The only thing missing was a charming poet and a few finger snaps. I was only able to catch half of the show but from what I did see, this guy is pretty talented and I can’t wait to hear more from him in the near future. Check out the video to get a glimpse of what I was able to capture during his performance.

Kenneth Whalum at Rockwood Live (NYC) from Lifeofacitygal on Vimeo.

On last Friday, I was able to see a live performance from Kenneth Whalum at Rockville Live. Shameless to say, I never heard of him until recently when the word spread about the show. It was a very intimate setting; definitely reminded me of a scene out of Love Jones with the rhythmic jazz softly playing in the background while the saxophone echoed as Kenneth played along with his band. The only thing missing was a charming poet and a few finger snaps. I was only able to catch half of the show but from what I did see, this guy is pretty talented and I can’t wait to hear more from him in the near future. Check out the video to get a glimpse of what I was able to capture during his performance.