Friday, May 29, 2009

Wale in Toronto vs Wale in Baltimore

So a little over a month ago I got to see Wale & UCB Go-Go Band play in Toronto. Mainly I wanted to go support since we were born in the same area (Montgomery County, Maryland). I'll admit I hadn't really followed the dude's hype, and I'll also admit that I never heard go-go until a Lil Jon / DJ Flexx collabo on Crunk Juice that I actually mistook for Bhangra influence at first. Anyway, the show was great, rather mindblowing actually. But I was not happy with Toronto's reception at all, so when I was back home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for Memorial Day weekend, and saw he was playing in Baltimore...

Here's a point-by-point comparison of those two concerts:

Toronto: The Mod Club, capacity 600
Baltimore: Sonar (Club Room), capacity 300
I thought Sonar's location was pretty cool (a rather run-down looking area underneath a bunch of overpasses) and the inside was a lot more intimate. However, that also made it harder to get a good view  of the stage, and The Mod Club had better sound.

Toronto: Colin Munroe, DJ Mensa
Baltimore: Greenspan, Get 'Em Mamis with DJ Booman, Big Sean
Probably since it was a Sunday show, Toronto didn't get to have a ton of openers. Now I know everbody loves Colin Munroe and I'll agree that he looked like he was good at what he was doing on stage, I just personally wasn't excited to hear it, and went to get some food instead. DJ Mensa played a good set (as always) from what I can remember, but it was weird cuz I think he was tucked in that corner DJ booth or maybe somewhere else where you couldn't even see him.
Baltimore definitely had the better opening set, with locals Greenspan, G.E.M. and Booman. There was one dude wearing Underarmor that I heard hatin on the Get 'Em Mamis, but forget him. The other act, Big Sean, also performed really well considering they couldn't get the music working for most of his set - he ended up giving a mic to someone in the crowd to beatbox, and almost got random audience members to come up and play UCB's instruments until someone backstage brought out a laptop that worked.
WINNER: Baltimore

Toronto: seeing if Drake was around
Baltimore: fielding song requests
WINNER: Draw, just cuz I dunno if anybody wins with Twitter...

This is what really made the difference. Toronto's crowd, which was about 80% white hipsters, had just a very strange way about them. I mean, it seemed like they were enjoying it, I guess. There was a good amount of applause and cheering in between songs, but during... Most everyone was just standing with their arms folded and watching. Maybe this is just me but if that's how you wanna go to a show, man just buy a DVD of the concert. Tell me how there's a go-go band up there, a band that specializes in playing one of the most inherently danceable forms of music, and there are what, six people in all of The Mod Club even noddin' their heads? There was a small group of a few people that were into it though, so props to them. But out of everybody else, the most reaction he got out of them was when he covered Justice, which I don't even think that was the best song he played by far. Not that this strange spectatorish crowd appeared to phase Wale or UCB that much - they still put on a great show, albeit making a "blunt, encore-less exit" as Exclaim put it. For a more full review though, checkout The Gunsmoke Mafia.
The Baltimore demographic was completely different, with whitey only making up like 20% of the room, and most of them fitting the stereotype of "college kid" rather than "hipster." Not that that's much better, I mean there were a couple people that were embarassingly was kind of a problem. It was clear that the room was full of real Wale fans though, being within 50 miles of his hometown and all. There was even a point where the band took a break and the whole front row just sang one of his songs in its entirety. It was definitely a friendlier atmosphere, with a lot more conversation, and they played for at least an hour and half.
WINNER: Baltimore
Main Difference: Toronto had to be told when to put it's hands up; Baltimore knew.

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