You have not seen devoted fans until you've seen hundreds of folks styled in red and black with faces painted and ready for lyrical war at a Tech N9NE concert. Last night at the Fillmore, the Kansas City heavyweight shut it down with his Strange Music crew.
With a line around the corner, down the street and around the corner again, the sixteen-and-up sold-out crowd was rowdy and ready to raise hell by about 4 p.m. Chants of "Tech N9NE! Tech N9NE!" could be heard for blocks long before doors opened at 7 sharp.
We spotted more than a few folks mixing soda with booze in disposable cups while they waited in line under an unforgiving sun and smoldering heat. They came to party and didn't give a damn.
Once folks began filing into the venue, the madness really got started. A melting pot of gangsters, juggalos, juggalettes, college undergrads, hippie-indie folks and plain old party people blended together for a dynamic (and drunk) crowd. We witnessed a guy fall up a flight of steps, only to then tumble down that same flight of stairs and keep it moving as if nothing happened. Later, I saw this same guy being escorted out of the venue by security, and he was still in a pretty nasty stupor -- and all this took place before the first act even came on.
Black Pegasus brought out Hypnotiq and King Tef's crew for a bouncy, pre-recorded rap lyrics set that, from a technical standpoint, could have been better, yet warmed the crowd up considerably. Black P then brought out an affiliate whose flaming-red Afro was as much a highlight as his rapid-fire rap flow. He slayed the crowd with his comfortable wordplay. Stevie Stone gave a relatively forgettable performance, although his set was energetic and choreographed to the nines. There were a number of folks in the crowd who dug his music, but it was clear that the next few acts really came to bring the noise.
The MC introduced the next act saying that someone was likely to "get bitten or kissed" after the outfit hit the stage. ¡Mayday!'s band opened up immediately after that with an instrumental introduction so fierce, the whole place turned into one giant dance floor. The bongo player (who got so busy on those things, it felt like Cuba for a second) was also the resident b-boy, and he killed it. The Miami-based rappers came strong and put on a great set, alternating between being the focal point and setting the attention to the musicians providing the music. After a while, the crowd's excitement lost its luster, though.
Kutt Calhoun came out with more swagger in the red bandanna tied around his neck than most cats will have all year. From the moment he took the stage, the gang-banging commenced in full force. Chants of "su-woop," the high-pitched Blood gang salutation, could be heard from almost every person in the venue, gang-affiliated or not. When Calhoun performed the classic "Colors," damn near everybody lost their minds, representing for Kutt's crew like there was no tomorrow. The gang-banging got a little redundant with each song, but he got busy on the microphone and even performed from the audience for a while.
Off the top, I'm not a fan of Jay Rock, so his set came off to me as bland and unexciting almost immediately. After Kutt Calhoun's awesome set, it was a little hard to watch Jay Rock flailing around trying to drum up excitement with 2Pac cover songs and his own material that just didn't seem believable. With Tech N9NE's set almost in arms' reach, though, he received a nice crowd response.
This is probably the best time to mention that there were probably more topless girls at this show than at the Playboy Mansion. Hanging from the shoulders of guys in the crowd, dangerously leaning over balcony railings, girls were out to show the entire world their tits, and, oh, how they did.
The moment we all had been waiting for came right on time when Tech N9NE, accompanied by the maniacal Krizz Kaliko, stormed the stage in disciplined fashion and the entire place erupted. People started banging on low-level ceilings, jumping up and down, and moshing all over the place. Tech performed an array of hits throughout the night, including "He's a Mental Giant," "Einstein" and "Worldwide Choppers," which opened the show. All in all, he rocked for more than ninety minutes, bringing out Kutt and Krizz to make up a trio of militant, boisterous, rapping craziness.
Tech N9NE, whose face was painted in his typical warrior style, had the audience at his mercy with his voice, which was loud, raspy, and strong. And he appeared to love every minute of it. Although he rocked cuts from across his vast music repertoire, the latest material from All 6's and 7's caught on like wildfire with the capacity crowd.
People were most definitely acting rowdy, and security was tense and on-point, but overall, it seemed like there were little to no incidents during the actual performances. Someone did throw water at the soundboard, prompting a "Fuck you" from the MC, but, you know, that's mild.
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Personal Bias: I've only seen Tech perform a brief set at a festival once. His full live show is ridiculous! Random detail: There were about six people slumped near the exit being babysat by security for what was assumed intoxication. By the Way: I watched most of the show with a friend who is a major Tech N9ne head. Definitely upped my excitement.