Concert Reviews

"White Iverson" Rapper Post Malone Took a Surreal Victory Lap at Trees Saturday

Post Malone
Trees, Dallas
Saturday, May 30, 2015

Post Malone wasn't going to let himself take this one for granted. Here he was, in his hometown, playing his first-ever sold-out show. Decked out in Dallas gear, including a Cowboys hat and Dirk Nowitzki jersey, Malone paced the stage at Trees on Saturday night in a near-daze, his arms up in the air, head back, flashing a big grin with his sparkling, grilled teeth. He even played his hit song, "White Iverson," twice — which was just as well because he only played for 25 minutes.

Talk about a victory lap.

But unlike the character in "White Iverson," caught up in his dreams of gaudy wealth, Malone was a playful, down-to-earth hero at what amounted to a homecoming party for the Southlake native. His even being here was a bit of an anomaly, the result of one song that went viral. He was, above all else, gracious, clasping the hands of his fans from the stage and pacing around as though storing every detail he could into his memory bank. Playing "Iverson" a second time was a nice, funny and self-aware touch.
The night was all a little bit surreal, if not a bit of a shit show, as fans tried sneaking into the venue and at least one brawl erupted in the balcony towards the end of Malone's set. The show had been advertised as "Post Malone and Special Guests," and while there were rumors of who those guests would be, Malone played his whole set with only his DJ. (Sorry, no guest appearance from ASAP Ferg, as some folks hypothesized.) It was a given that the headliner, with only a handful of songs available online, wouldn't play for that long, so the opening sets averaged out to something around eight minutes apiece.

But the night was all about Malone anyway, and a lot of that had to do with curiosity. That's not too surprising given how Malone came to play this show in the first place: He's Internet famous. The show provided a convenient cap to a run of Dallas hip-hop events that came to be dubbed #DallasWeek, which was apt: #DallasWeek was essentially a happy accident, a bit of opportunism from some local promoters. "Iverson" is itself a bit of a happy accident for Malone: Few people know much of anything about him, except that his song has gone viral, and it's good. Pretty damn good. It's even gotten him a lot of love from places like Complex and XXL.

The other main thing we know is that Malone is from Dallas (or the Dallas area), which makes him about as big a deal as anyone in local hip-hop right now — which is funny because he doesn't live here anymore. Much like the other Dallas native making national waves this year, Justin Mohrle (who was in attendance Saturday night), Malone lives in Los Angeles. This was his first proper show in town since going viral over the winter, and it was a leap of faith to have him play such a big room with such little music to back it up. He sold the place out, but even in his hometown he remains an unknown to the broader audience.
In the end, there wasn't all that much to be gleaned from the night, besides his shout out to the late ASAP Yams and the fact that his songs — the few that he played — stand up pretty well live. "Iverson" works as well as it does because it's tongue-in-cheek, yet if Dallas is the city of $30,000 millionaires then its outward aspirations for wealth and wasteful spending make for a somehow perfect local anthem. One way or another, it resonates with the (mostly very young) crowd who showed up to Trees. From the opening notes of the song, almost everyone in the room raised their phones in the air and sang along all the way through.

Malone, who was joined on stage by a crowd of 20 or 25 people that only grew as the set went on, let himself have some fun with things too. More than once, he faked out the crowd about not having any more songs to play, which was a tease as much as it was a joke at his own expense. In fact, he had a new song to roll out, "40 Funk," which went in a grimier, trap-rap direction than the hazy, lethargic "Iverson" or its spiritual counterpart, "Tears." (Sadly, there were no Bob Dylan covers.) When he launched back into "Iverson" at the end of the set, he let the crowd do most of the singing, diving instead into the throng of people to crowd surf — keeping himself, once again, firmly in the moment.

So were these Malone's 15 minutes of fame, or was it the beginning of something bigger? The jury is still out on that one. He didn't exactly knock it out of the park, but it was also hard to come away believing he's anything other than a class act, one who could make a good representative for the city even if he doesn't live here anymore. He's smart enough to seize an opportunity when it comes, but he also seems to have his feet on the ground. That's a pretty good start.

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Jeff Gage
Contact: Jeff Gage