Living in the middle of the country is fantastic for so many reasons. We don’t get hurricanes, our earthquakes are tiny, and we seldom have to fly more than four hours to get somewhere on the coasts unless there’s a layover. Not bad. However, one super big bummer about it is that most big bands don’t stop here during a tour because there aren’t very many people around and the altitude is super rough on the lungs if you’re not used to it. And woefully, few Korean artists come here. I know of three in the last five years I’ve been down this particular rabbit hole., and they were all very tiny.
Of course, the one night we actually get a show in town in the last two years (Dumbfounddead and some others) is the EXACT SAME NIGHT two of my favorite rappers were set to perform in North Carolina. So as has become a common occurrence in recent years, I was forced to weigh and measure the pros and cons of both shows and commit. One was local and cheap and had a few rappers I’ve been getting into lately while the other was a plane ticket, vacation days from work, and time away from the family. But seriously, the pros of the show in NC faaaar outweighed staying. It was San E (an early contender for my heart) and Mad Clown coupled with staying with my future bride, KpopontheDL. Seriously, there is very little that could compete with that scenario.
I flew in laaaaate Monday night after a full day of work and we fell into bed in the wee hours of the morning after giggling and catching up a bit. We talk every single day, but only really get to see each other in person two or three times a year for quick weekend trips. After a lovely day consisting of a pretty walk with some absolutely perfect corgis, lunch with Emma and some light shopping, a delicious milkshake, and my very first Red Bull (because seriously, when do I need more energy?), KpopontheDL and I were stoked to line up for our artist hang out and the show.
The hangout included high fives and hugs with San E, Mad Clown and Sobae. You will note that San E has me tucked into his armpit. KpopontheDL was exceedingly generous in making sure that I was positioned next to that charismatic creature. I just love his music and his persona so much. We also got a signed poster and the chance to watch the soundcheck as part of the promo and the ability to choose where we wanted to stand or sit before the rest of the crowd was let in.
The venue was pretty tiny and the crowd was limited so even though we opted to sit on the bleachers to the side of the stage, we were actually very close and had an unobstructed view. The opener, Ace Henderson was a Raleigh based rapper in the vein of Outkast and was quite good at pumping up the crowd. It helped that he seemed to have an entourage of photographers…or the tour, in general, had an entourage of photographers, that was all over the stage, acting the fool, and taking artfully staged pics meant to make the crowd look much bigger than it actually was. They were almost as fun to watch as the actual show.
Sobae, a female singer/rapper, whom I admittedly didn’t know prior to the show, served largely as the MC for the evening. She did perform her most recent single and sang the female part for a few of the collabs with both San E and Mad Clown, and I was pretty impressed. I’ve since looked her up and added a couple of her tracks to a playlist or two. Here is a clip of her performing Homegirls.
Our heroes of the night opened the show with Sour Grapes. I was so, so pleased as this song was my entré into loving both of these guys with all of my being. I stalked this song when it was first released in 2015 and did a post about it in December of 2016 and frankly, I still listen to it almost weekly. I’ve shared the video with just about everyone in my life at some point or another, so seeing it live…twice now since they both opened and closed with it…is a highlight in my musical existence.
After a series of what they referred to as appetizers (short parts from lots of songs spanning several seasons of Show Me the Money and other sundry hits), they each performed a solo set. Mad Clown kicked it off and yes, he performed Once Again from the Descendants of the Sun OST. That song seriously appears on a playlist of super sappy songs that move me to tears on a routine basis. I would have cried then and there if I was that kind of person.
San E, of course, has amazing stage presence. He was all over the place, dancing girl group choreo, throwing out finger hearts and preening cooly. I love a man that takes so much pride in not taking himself too seriously. It’s called showmanship, my friends. He performed Body Language early in the set and I was totally stoked.
Of course, they came back together at the end of the show to do their latest collab, Butterfly…which I shared a couple of weeks ago as part of this post. Unfortunately, after calling a few folks to the stage to dance with them, they were flooded with probably 30 young women and 2 men that couldn’t put their phones down for the three-minute song and kept insisting on taking selfies with the three performers WHILE THEY WERE PERFORMING. It was incredibly distracting for both the audience and them. They had to basically force the aggressive group to get off the stage at the end of the song and the atmosphere was dampened as a consequence.
They got us back by taking a few shots, inviting everyone to the afterparty, and performing Sour Grapes again, but it was a total bummer about fans being more interested in capturing every second for social media rather than enjoying the actual show…I assure you I filmed very little compared to what was actually performed.
Sadly, KpopontheDL had to work in the morning and I had an early flight back to reality, so we were unable to attend the after party…but we snuggled up and got a relatively full night’s sleep, so that’s a win. I was so very happy and so very sated by this show. It was, yet again, an opportunity that I never thought I’d have a chance to experience. I’m starting to think that I shouldn’t ever feel like something is out of reach.