A$AP Rocky @ First Avenue Mainroom
October 13th, 2012
Saturday night at First Avenue's mainroom featured one of the most exciting hip-hop bills Minneapolis will see in 2012: Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, and A$AP Rocky with the entire A$AP Mob. All are relative newcomers with few releases under their collective belts but all received substantial acclaim for releases in 2011 and 2012. Many were there to see Detroit native Brown, who played plenty of selections from his fantastically explicit mixtape XXX with such passion and energy that most around me agreed that he would probably be the finest performer of the evening. Schoolboy Q came out shortly thereafter and ran through a set that would be great by any other standard but paled in comparison to the ferocious performance before it. Shortly before 11 the house lights went dim for Harlem native A$AP Rocky in his first ever Minneapolis date. Two members of his crew, dubbed the A$AP Mob, entered the stage wearing gas masks. A figure in an orange facemask ran out and quickly rattled off a few verses before pulling the mask up to reveal that it was Rocky himself. The rest of the Mob emerged shortly thereafter and breezed through songs from the tepidly received mixtape Lords Never Worry, which generally failed to excite the crowd, who were primarily there to see the performer whose name was on the bill: Rocky. After clearing the stage for a brief interlude segment which continued the theme of warfare, Rocky emerged to finally perform some favorites off of his 2011 mixtape LiveLoveA$AP which finally ignited the sold-out crowd. Tracks like "Wassup", "Brand New Guy" and "Kissin Pink" sounded massive through the venue's new Electro-Voice sound system. There were a couple other choice cuts from the mixtape that were performed before Rocky left the stage and the house lights abruptly went up, making it apparent that there would be no encore. Rocky's set halfway delivered on what myself and the audience hoped for, and the unfamiliar material was at least performed with a lot of chutzpah, but it was difficult to stand up next to the brilliantly spirited set that began the evening from Danny Brown.
Written by Tom Steffes, Radio K volunteer.