Sunday night was devoted to rap and hip hop when Blackbear brought his Dead 2 the World tour to the Fillmore in New Orleans.
South African rapper Gashi opened the evening. He is proud of his roots as well as his new deal with Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation. The set was minimal, but an entertaining one. He and his DJ played only small snippets of his many songs. At first confusing, but Gashi explained that since his set was only twenty minutes, he wanted to expose the audience to as many songs as he could. And that he did. Jumping around and spraying the crowd with water, he put on a great show.Next up was singer/DJ Elohim. Reminiscent of Sia with her hair in her face and covered in a transparent raincoat, she sang and mixed. Eventually losing the raincoat and emerging from behind the turntables, she sang and danced and jumped around to songs that were empowering and provided a moody and emotional backdrop to the light show happening on the LCD screen behind her. The main event of the night, though, was Blackbear. Known as a producer and songwriter, Matthew “Blackbear” Musto has managed to be part of some of the most infectious pop songs of the past few years. He has collaborated with Machine Gun Kelly, Mike Posner, Childish Gambino, Miley Cyrus and produced the title track of G-Eazy’s These Things Happen album as well as co-wrote the Justin Bieber hit “Boyfriend”.
Despite appearances, Blackbear is not your average hip hop white guy. He manages to merge catchy pop choruses with hip hop lyrics and live musicianship. The stage was decked out with scaffolding that housed a bass player on one side and a drummer on the other. A coffin sat ominously on one side. Finally emerging atop the scaffolding, he started the evening with “Heartbroken” from his new album Anonymous. The floor shook as he got the crowd jumping.
Playing a mix of new and known, the most surprising part of his set started with the song “Nyla” where he sat at the coffin, which was actually a piano. It was a surprising twist as the song was beautifully stripped down as compared to the jumping party songs he had been performing. His surprising musicianship skills continued with the song “1 Sided Love” where he grabbed an acoustic guitar and joined his drummer and bass player. It was a nice twist to an otherwise very youth-oriented set.
The evening ended on a high with the song “Dead to Me” from his newest album. Whoever hurt Blackbear, hurt him good and he is taking it all out in the lyrics. The crowd sang along to every word. He finished the set with his most well-known song “Do Re Mi” from 2017’s Digital Druglord.BLACKBEAR
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