I’ve only seen Mac once before, when he was hardly known in the mainstream hip-hop audience. 4 years ago, he opened for Wiz Khalifa on the Green Carpet Tour at the Red Oak Amphitheatre in Raleigh, NC. I was only a year removed from college at the time and still made frequent visits back to my old stomping grounds, so this concert was just an excuse to get back to Raleighwood to have a good time with some friends.
Flash forward 4 years, and Mac’s stardom has grown exponentially. His 4th mixtape, KIDS, really got him into the spotlight back in 2010 and since then he’s released mixtape upon mixtape along with 2 critically acclaimed albums, not including his newest release, GOOD:AM.
As many people are well aware, Mac is a Pittsburgh, PA native. He went to the same highschool as Wiz Khalifa (Taylor Allderdice HS) and later got a record deal with Rostrum Records, who Wiz was also signed with. Initially, I think a number of listeners felt that he was riding Wiz’s coat tails to a degree, but he has more than proven any doubters wrong since that time. Mac has truly carved out a role for himself in the hip-hop world and continues to impress with his clever punchlines and melodic flows.
Now then, on to the show. I arrived on site about 30 minutes before doors even opened and the line to get in was already 150-200 people deep. I knew it wold be a packed house, but had no idea that it would be this packed. Instead of waiting it out in the general admission line, I called an audible at the box office and opted to get a fast pass. This $10 magical coupon gets you in a separate line to get in, before anyone else. It proved to be $10 well spent. A few of my friends met me there at about that same time, and the waiting game began until doors opened.
Once the doors did open, we made a beeline to the center of the audience. Your standard house music and milling around went on for a bit while the crowd continued filing in. Eventually, a DJ came to the stage and announced the first opener was coming to the stage: Choo Jackson. I’ve never heard of Choo Jackson prior to this show, but the guy had some serious energy. The crowd was so ready to turn up, the moment the first song started people were instantly jumping up and down. Choo played a few songs and eventually gave way to Michael Christmas – another guy I have never heard of. Like Choo, Christmas was very energetic and crowd-friendly. He did a great job getting the crowd to interact with him and had a natural stage presence. The final opener was a duo named Earth Gang – yet another act I hadn’t heard of. (This trend just let me know I need to get out from under a rock and listen to some more up and comers). Like the previous acts, this group had the crowd bouncing and did a great job setting the stage for Mac. All 3 acts really did a great job entertaining the crowd and I think they each have the potential to achieve great things in this industry with the work ethic that they displayed this past Tuesday night.
And speaking of Mac, his time had finally descended upon us. The stage was set, the lights dimmed, and the song “Loud” began to play over the speakers. Have a look:
The crowd went APE – to the point of some pushing/shoving and even some lighthearted moshing for the boys up front. I had severely underestimated the kind of show that Mac would be putting on. I did not expect that kind of energy. At. All. Mac continued on with a set list that spanned almost every one of his better known projects. There were songs from KIDS, Blue Slide Park, Best Day Ever, Faces, WMWTSO, and obviously GOOD:AM.
Here’s the set list:
2. Watching Movies
3. Bird Call
6. Brand New
7. 100 Grandkids
8. Red Dot Music
9. Nikes On My Feet – A personal favorite of mine. This song is a classic.
10. In The Bag
11. Rush Hour
14. Donald Trump
16. Break The Law
17. Objects in the Mirror
20. Lucky Ass B*tch
21. When In Rome
22. Frick Park Market
23. Cut the Check
24. Best Day Ever
It took Mac roughly an hour and a half to perform all of these songs, and he put everything he had into each one of them. The energy in the room was undeniable, and I left the venue with a solid sweat going. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many stops left on this leg of the tour, so if Mac is coming to your city and you have a chance to go, do it. I underestimated Mac. Learn from my mistake and don’t do the same thing.
Until next time!
PSS – Shoutout to the The Fillmore Charlotte for always bringing great artists through the city. Thank you.