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Reviews

Show Review – Hoodie Allen at La Tulipe (Montreal, Qc)

Let me tell you a little story:

I was on my lunch break from school one day, walking down the hill to grab a sandwich. I had recently downloaded a free mixtape entitled “Pep Rally” by a New York based rapper called Hoodie Allen. His stuff was on Hype Machine and it sounded pretty good to me, so I figured I’d give the rest of his album a shot. It’s loaded up on my iPhone, and I’m playing his single, “You Are Not a Robot.” So I broadcast it on my Twitter. I eat my sandwich, walk out of the shop and my phone buzzes. It’s the artist himself – Hoodie Allen, tweeting me saying “thanks jake for the support, glad u diggin robot.” That’s how you secure a fan for life.
Hoodie Allen
So when I found out that he was coming to town, I bought my tickets the day they were released. I thought there’d be more of a crowd showing up at the venue that night, but even a small crowd of a hundred people or so didn’t dampen this Long Islander’s spirit or his performance. Right off the bat, RJF (his producer and beat mastermind) drops a beat from the new mixtape “Leap Year,” and Hoodie starts spitting “You’re Welcome.” The dedicated crowd is shouting “yeah, you’re welcome” along with the hook.
Hoodie Allen
“This is crazy…” Hoodie (or Steven Markowitz) says, “I’ve never been to Canada before. I’m so sheltered. I’m just a kid from New York and we’re here in Montreal.” It was indeed his first show in Canada, and for being a guy who doesn’t get radio airplay and is not signed to a single label, having any sort of crowd must’ve been a surprise.

Along with his drummer, Jimmy Kadesch, and RJF, Hoodie gets the crowd moving with his take on The Black Keys’ “Tighten Up,” and breaks out what seemed to be a fan favorite, “James Franco.” Fans scream out “Happy birthday!” to the 23 year-old. “Someone’s been following me on Facebook today,” and he high fives the audience members who wished him one. Like I said, he’s acquired a very dedicated fanbase of online followers all over the world.

Closing out the set with “You Are Not a Robot,” the very song that got me hooked on him, I’m pretty sure that despite Hoodie’s voice being a little hoarse due to a cold, and the strict curfew the venue had – fans would’ve stayed there all night. The crowd knew every word and responded with as loud an applause that they could give. Undeniably an amazing set that showed off his skills and energy on stage.
Hoodie Allen
He hung out near the merch table after the set to make sure he met everyone. I shook his hand and thanked him for a great show. He reiterated how it was his first time in Canada and he was truly appreciative of the support he had been receiving. I told him that the language barrier might get in the way sometimes, but he was definitely welcome here anytime he wanted. And he stayed there until he met every single that wanted to chat with him.

I have a huge amount of respect for this dude. When I started following him in November, he had 3000 followers, and since then, it’s grown exponentially to 22 600 followers on his Twitter. And yet, he still spends hours per day replying to his fans (he even hits his tweet limit for the day pretty often). He meets every fan he possibly can. Hoodie is genuinely dedicated not only to his craft, but every single person out there that allows him to keep on making music. The fans. And it truly shows.

Music: Hoodie Allen
Setlist: Hoodie Allen in Montreal
Photos: jakemullan’s flickr

Categories
Eminem Reviews

Show Review – Eminem at the Osheaga Music Festival, Montreal

After more than a decade with a lack of Slim Shady, Montreal was graced with the Detroit-native white rapper just last night. Eminem grabbed hold of the record setting crowd (in the six-year old festival’s history) of 38 000, and refused to let go. As his show-opening track states, Shady just “Won’t Back Down.”

Eminem had stopped performing live back in 2005 when his drug addiction started to seriously interfere with his health. However, he’s been making a comeback to the stage in the past year, mainly performing at European music festivals, as well as Tennessee’s Bonnaroo earlier this summer. He also did a set of shows with Jay-Z last year at Yankee Stadium and Comerica Park in New York and Detroit, respectively. Even then, his performances are few and far in between, and an Eminem concert is not something that’s easy to come by. Montreal thought they were in for a treat.

And they most certainly thought right. Eminem played hit after hit, usually rapping the first verse and chorus, then moving on to the next track. While odd at first, it still somehow worked. “3 a.m.” flowed directly into “Square Dance,” both of which were short-lived. And believe me, the thunderous crowd didn’t mind it at all. Em took a pause and asked, “Montreal, how many of you have ever had beef with your parents?” And broke right into “Cleanin’ Out My Closet.” Royce da 5’9″ even joined him up on stage to spit out a couple of songs from the new Bad Meets Evil album, Hell: The Sequel. When they dropped “Lighters,” the crowd actually lit up with a “sky full of lighters” and cell phones.

The hits kept on coming, with “Stan” and “Love the Way You Lie” getting huge reactions. The Eminem we had been waiting to see all summer came out in full force in each stanza of his rhymes, and his sporadic pacing on stage. Audience members waved their arms, bounced to the beat and didn’t stop roaring. Definite highlight of the night: “Space Bound” was performed live for the first time. It may not have gotten as big a cheer as the encore “Lose Yourself” did, but it felt truly special to see and hear the Recovery track rapped for its first time in front of the massive amount of Eminem fans.

Negatives? None. Sheer perfection from one of the most talented, yet controversial, artists of our time. I think we all just wish we could’ve had Em on stage just a bit longer, so he could perform more songs in their entirety. Choice words: Loud, in your face, and on fire… even if there was a lack of pyrotechnics. If you can make it out to a show of Eminem’s, don’t even hesitate. Go ahead and simply “Lose Yourself.”

Setlist