Recently, Bad Boy recording artist Machine Gun Kelly rolled his “Lace Up 2013” tour to the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia. As much as I love reviewing and photographing hip-hop shows one of the things I don’t like is that a lot of times I cannot keep track of who has taken the stage. It makes reviewing these shows kind of hard. Until Dub-O hit the stage it was a pretty average show. After seeing MGK in the past I knew that average wouldn’t last for very long.
Let me start off by saying this show was “sold out”. Rightfully so MGK has built a large fan base with his past releases and his “EST 19XX” movement. In my experience of attending shows at the TLA I can usually judge the turnout of a show and what type of show it will be from the line up of concert goers in the ally waiting to enter the venue. The “line up” ally insures that hundreds of people will not crowd South Street and allows security to keep control. With this observation it was apparent to me that a majority of MGK’s fan base is both young and female!
I will say from the first opener till the beginning of MGK’s set the packed house was ready for a good time. With the previous artists being standard and average halfway into the night Dub-O took the stage. Playing through a set that lasted about 25 minutes his performance was pretty good. I liked the fact that he seemed very experienced. I did notice many of the people in the crowd singing along to his songs. The highlight came
when he invited two females from the crowd on stage to grope him while he sang one of his songs. Maybe not a full grope but certainly one you would expect from a young hip-hop artist who has two pretty girls on stage with him. Dub-O did a great job working the stage and talking to the crowd. I liked his beats and his rhymes were well delivered.
Up next came headliner Machine Gun Kelly! From the drop of the first beat MGK rocked the house. With his drummer, guitarist and DJ and long time hype man Slim Jizzle, MGK ran through an hour long set that seemed to only last a few minutes. Maybe it’s the energy he brings or the fact that we were again witnessing another great performance by this 22 year old rap superstar. A few minutes into his set MGK noticed a thank you sign in the crowd and stopped to talk a little about how much he appreciated everyone coming to his show and how thankful he was that all this was happening to him. After seeing him in past shows climbing the rails, raging and acting like well MGK. This time he seemed a bit more refined, with a maturity that I had not seen before. He almost seemed like he is starting to get used to being MGK and sharing with the fan base that supports him. Soon after he welcomed Slim to the stage who just like MGK really knows how to work a crowd. In reviews you don’t hear much about Slim but each time I have seen MGK Slim was the backbone to the performance. He’s a great artist and a amazing hype man.
As always it only took a few songs before MGK was shirtless and rocking the house with his cover of Limp Bizkit’s “Rollin” for his female fans. For me it was cool to see this kid go from rookie rapper to superstar. As with every MGK performance the highlight came with his performance of “wild boy” and his visit to the crowd. Check out Machine Gun Kelly on his “Lace Up 2013” tour and at www.mgklaceup.com!
Words and photography by: Keith Lovett