Yelawolf Trees Saturday, February 18
Yelawolf went on stage at 11:30 p.m., a pretty average start time for a Saturday show, but those assembled were chanting his name for so long and so aggressively that it felt like ages before he finally hit the stage. If this wasn't the experience of everyone at Trees that night, I wouldn't be surprised. I was surrounded by 10 fighty-moshy fans for the first part of the night who were so loud they drowned out the sold-out capacity crowd.
Jay Fresh and DJ Supervision came out to tease the crowd a bit before the headlining set. Fresh is a capable performer but his offering was a little lost on the crowd; those near the front were clearly feeling him, but further into the room, the scene was getting impatient.
After a lot of back and forth between DJ and playlist, Yelawolf finally hit the stage and jumped right into "Daddy's Lambo," and you could feel the collective relief of the audience. Wolf was effusive with the thank yous and the inspirational stories regarding his success. Then he would just yell, "Cocaine!" He brings a nice ying and yang that way.
The set covered a fair amount from Trunk Muzik and of course his new release, Radioactive. I was pleasantly surprised that he included some of his notable guest verses on other artist's tracks, especially his impressive turn on Big Boi's "You Ain't No DJ." He bragged that everyone on his label, Shady Records, must pass a freestyle litmus test and performed both his 16 from the 2011 BET Awards Shady Records showcase, "Cypher," and extended it into an a capella freestyle seemingly original to the night. The man's got chops, for real.
Halfway into the set, Yelawolf brought out Dallas' Big Hud and Houston's Trae for a turn on the mic. They didn't disappoint, but Wolf's temporary departure from the stage broke the momentum. He managed to get the crowd back with crystal meth torch song "Billy Crystal," and then literally bounded into the crowd, which stopped moshing and very carefully passed their Wolf all the way to bar and back as he continued to perform.
They handled him with care, even though Saturday's patrons were distractingly confrontational. Yelawolf brings a crowd that is equal parts hip-hop head, frat boy and Juggalo, so the mix was interesting. The cops were called; I saw several confrontations with bouncers and doormen and at least two young men were getting kicked out as I was leaving. Wolf kept screaming to the crowd, "Let's tear this fucking place up!" His plea seemed to be taken seriously.
Still, Yelawolf seemed more relaxed on this tour, and on stage it seemed like he was just having fun. Despite a few misses from the DJs and the ordering of special guests, this was still a feather in Scoremore's cap, as they continue to book some stellar hip-hop shows in a venue that is really showcasing these artists in a special way.
Notebook dump: Listening to Yelwolf's "Love Is Not Enough" alone is an entirely different experience live, especially when the men all take to the "Fuck that bitch" repeat. This fighting crowd especially made the occurrence a little uncomfortable. An interesting exercise, as that song had never stood out to me as being offensive or intimidating in any way before.
By the way: Shout out to Trees security, who seemed to notice I was a dressed-up lady rolling through this scene alone. Before I found a perch where I could stand above the aggressive moshing, they did their part to make sure myself and others were not unnecessarily messed with. I am okay being necessarily messed with.