Future Played with His Crowd's Heart Strings at South Side Music Hall

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Future With Rico Love South Side Music Hall, Dallas Thursday, June 19, 2014

On his first-ever visit to Dallas, Atlanta rapper Future played his crowd at South Side Music Hall like a yo-yo. With flashing LED lights synched up to the music and smoke machine billowing into the room, the show looked like a hip-hop rave. But along the way Future jumped back and forth between trap bangers and romantic melodies, pulling the crowd in close before turning the party back up.

It was an up-and-down night in many ways. One of the openers, Q.U.E., was a no-show. His bass-heavy songs like "O.G. Bobby Johnson," "Time" and "Frankie Lymon" would have been perfect to get the energy going, but alas, it wasn't to be.

Thus it was left to Rico Love to get the crowd warmed up. Love is a Louisiana rapper and vocalist who has written songs for artists such as Usher and Beyoncé. His performance stayed relatively calm and few in the crowd really moved to the music. Towards the end of his set, hands holding camera phones went up and girls began to scream when Love brought out special guest Trey Songz. The two performed together on Love's song, "They Don't Know." Yet given the exciting nature of Future's music, Love's set seemed to lack energy as a suitable opener.

Finally, after a long wait the dread-headed Future came to the stage wearing an all-black ensemble paired with a camouflage print jacket. He was lively from the get-go, jumping to his music and moving back and forth across stage. The set started with a few singles from his debut album, Pluto. Singles "Tony Montana" and "Racks on Racks" charged the fans into dancing and chanting along with him. After a few songs he took off his jacket when he started getting sweaty from all the moving around.

Future's tour is of course promoting his new, sophomore album, titled Honest. On that album, Future worked with famed hip-hop artists such as Drake and Kanye West. It was when those songs appeared that he started messing with the crowd, getting them pumped up and excited. Then he relaxed the crowd when he performed his more romantic R&B jams. When he performed "I Won," which features Kanye West on the album version, he invited the fans to sing. Of course, the fans listened and even joined Future in the falsetto part of the song.

The show continued it's seesawing, with the rowdy "Move That Dope" from Honest followed by his last romantic melodies from his first album Pluto, "Turn On The Lights" and "Love Song." During "Turn On The Lights," Future told staff to turn on the lights. They didn't, but they did shine lights to the mirror disco ball that hung from the center of the ceiling. It may not have been what Future had requested, but it lit up the venue and looked beautiful. That moment felt like the end of a high school dance, the perfect moment to grab a partner and slow dance. One could almost imagine a scenario in which Future's melodic romance songs someday might transform into modern day slow jams.

The MC's been critiqued for his autotune-edited voice, but he didn't sound bad live -- or at least he sounded pretty much the same as on record. The autotune adds some extra effect to his sound. He saved two of his catchy trap-sounding songs to end his set, "Same Damn Time" and "Shit." The crowd in the back seemed to let loose while Future performed "Same Damn Time." They had more space to dance and a lot of them moved freely to the music.

"Y'all been a great crowd," Future said to the crowd before finishing his set with the single "Shit," in which he calls out someone using a shouting, stuttering tone. The biggest disappointment may have been that the set wasn't long enough: Future only played for an hour, at which point the crowd was more than ready to keep dancing.

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