Vince Staples Charges Up Warehouse Live, Asthma and All
Photos by Marco Torres
Vince Staples, Rocky Banks
May 17, 2016 Vince Staples commands most of his shows like a mixture of Lenny Bruce and a rock artist on the verge. His talent is too big for him to play small venues, yet his sound feels like it's perfectly conditioned to exist in such a setting. When he asks fans to toss their hands in the air before jumping raucously, they listen. When he jokes about having asthma and the rudeness of weed smokers in the front row almost killing him, he says it with a sly smile.
Vince Staples, Rocky Banks
"I'm thankful they booked us for shows in Texas; they never book us for shows down here," Staples said before launching into show closer “Blue Suede." "Give it up for all the openers who made this shit possible."
Staples brought his Circa '06 tour to Warehouse Live's Studio Room Tuesday night. The way the heat swelled and circled everyone in the crowd, you'd think fans were inside a metal show rushing for water and a few gasps of air.
After every section of tracks that bounced around last year’s Summertime ’06, his Hell Can Wait EP and Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, Staples, along with his DJ, Westside Ty, would pontificate on the crowd. One bro would yell, "Fuck Chris Paul!" and Staples would respond, "Yeah, that too." When a bit of dead silence crept in after one bro got rude about a girl wanting to have a hammock in case she got tired, "Hang & Bang" immediately rose the crowd back up.
"I got asthma, niggas smoking all front in the crowd and you aren't helping anything," Staples joked with one fan. "I mean, I feel you, cuh, but I might die, bro! All these high-ass niggas, stop doing drugs."
Unlike a ton of rappers of this Soundcloud-discovery era, Staples doesn't let the crowd carry his every move or offer vague ad-libs to let the beat do all the work for him. When it came time for "Blue Suede," the fans from the front all the way to the back tried their damnedest to match the screeching synths and flow along with Vince. With Staples, it’s him and a DJ, some alternating lights, and that’s it. He darts around left to right, gauging on the fly which section of the room is giving him the most energy. Like a decent politician, he leads most of his commands from dead center and like a damn good politician, he can convey a ton of emotion in a short span.
Though very few were able to match Staples's West Coast energy, by the time things wound down outside of Warehouse, kids stood laughing and caked in sweat. “Norf Norf” sounded like almost every other track in Staples’s arsenal Tuesday night. If the drums smacked right, the crowd would thrust their hands in the sky and attempt to imagine life as Vince Staples in Long Beach, California. They were the faithful and strong, even if some of them still clung hard to innocence, youth and state IDs that stood vertically when you pulled them out.
That innocence couldn’t have existed further from Rocky Banks, the night's local opener, who ran through tracks from last December’s In Other News, I Don’t Do Drugs Anymore to work a growing crowd into a frenzy. Banks, tall and with eyes that jut out as if every glance should be considered important, connected with the fans on Tuesday night. Whatever newfound fame he’s received via being featured on The FADER, he’s channeled it into his shows. They may not hover around 100 percent energy, but considering that he, his longtime producer, Mustafa Enzor, and others all lingered around Warehouse as totems of support, he’s well on his way.
The night, though, still belonged to Vince Staples. Once the show concluded, he engaged fans via his very popular Twitter account. One fan who attended the show asked him why he didn’t perform “Summertime” for his personal liking.
“It wasn't enough Girlies in the room I do it for the Girlies not the bros,” Staples replied, only minutes after affirming that he did the show for Yao Ming. “I do it for the girls in the front row — please don't squish the ladies.”
VINCE STAPLES SET LIST
Ramona Park Legend, Pt. 1
Lift Me Up
Jump Off The Roof
Birds & Bees
Smoke & Retribution
Hang N’ Bang
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