Concert Reviews

Review: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at Westword Music Showcase, 6/23/12


Macklemore and Ryan Lewis came out to chants of "Macklemore! Macklemore!" at the 2012 Westword Music Showcase from the packed and adoring crowd. Once Lewis stepped onto the DJ platform and took the microphone from the stand, the audience erupted with anticipated euphoria, and the pair exploded with the energy of five lions.

Macklemore has a lot of love for Denver and playing Westword's Music Showcase was right up his alley. The crowd showed tons of love from the start. Tracks like "The Town" and "Otherside" went over well with the super fans who knew all of the words and rapped along with Macklemore, who climbed on top of one of the towering speakers.

Armed with a supersoaker, Macklemore took a minute to blast the overheated crowd and then kept the party going with "The End," aided by the ever capable hands of Ryan Lewis, who, even from the DJ platform, seemed as dynamic as ever. Macklemore played the crowd perfectly, his banter comical yet succinct.

After informally polling the crowd about their decade of origin, asking for a show of hands of who was born in the '70s, '80s and '90s, he put on his "time traveling" jean-jacket decked out with black fringes and emblazoned with a painting of David Bowie, and commenced to rock the crowd. Later during "And We Danced," he donned a gold lame cape and party wig. Bringing Ray Dalton out for "Wings" was definitely the highlight of the performance. The singer sounded so good, his voice could have easily been mistaken for the record.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis brought the set to a close by crowd surfing deep into the fray, with the audience cheering their name and demanding more, ultimately leaving the by now nearly capacity crowd drenched in sweat with smiles for miles.


Personal Bias: Macklemore is one of the better writers to come out of the hip-hop scene in a while, and Ryan Lewis is a genius.

By the Way: If you haven't heard, it was hot as hell outside, and these guys went harder than hard, and the audience was with them every step of the way.

Random Detail: Owuor Arunga, the trumpet and cymbal (just one) player, was a show stealer for sure.

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Ru Johnson
Contact: Ru Johnson