About 15 minutes into Playboi Carti’s set at Revention Music Center last night, he instructed fans on the balcony to film the audience on the floor instead of his own performance.
“Show everyone how they’re going crazy,” said Carti.
And crazy they went. The diverse crowd of 17 – 22 year olds made their case for one last party before Christmas. They moshed. They chanted every lyric. They threw beer, water and shirts into the hypothetical fire. They also sported a plethora of Travis Scott Astroworld gear instead of ugly Christmas sweaters.
Carti’s set opened with a distorted voice declaring a state of emergency due to a nuclear attack on the United States. While the faceless voice listed the cities affected by the disaster, sirens sounded as Carti roared onstage, opening with “R.I.P Fredo” from his latest album Die Lit.
Throughout his festival-ready set, the 22-year-old Atlanta rapper burned through his catalog, playing the role of a party ringleader better than that of a headlining performer. For the majority of the night he took a backseat to producer Pierre Bourne's dizzying, video game-esque tracks, insisting on filling in their few blanks with ad-libs (“Brrruh!”) and encouraging his fans to rage.
Most songs on the set list were truncated; others were relegated to blink-and-miss-it snippets no longer than 15 seconds. Every song, however, was punctuated by the sounds of bullets and sirens. It was the only element of the show that mildly maintained its apocalyptic theme it tried establishing at the start. As the night progressed, the show’s actual theme revealed itself: the audience.
“Put the lights on the crowd,” said Carti in between more songs than not.
The sold out Revention crowd didn’t mind the attention. One fan went as far as to jump onstage before set highlight “Shoota.” Instead of removing the young fan from the show, Carti kept him onstage and encouraged him to psych out, of course. The fan shadowed Carti throughout the song before eventually diving back into the audience. Carti then performed the song again without his impromptu duet partner and built on the momentum.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
When he launched into his 2017 hit “Magnolia,” his physical energy finally matched that of both the audience and the music itself. Here, he flashed glimpses of the performer he’s poised to become: some sort of monster capable of devouring a stage on command. Without a spotlight on him, his silhouette raced around the stage like a lunatic giving tangible reason for his crowd to rage like he had demanded all night.
Carti kept upping the ante with “Broke Boi” and a victorious performance of “Long Time,” before re-performing “R.I.P. Fredo” and a chopped and screwed version of “wokeuplikethis*.”
The show’s most questionable decision came when Carti closed the entire set with a cover of Travis Scott’s “SICKO MODE.” Most of the crowd ate it up, likely happy to hear their hometown hero rattling on unimaginably loud speakers. Other fans took the opportunity to beat traffic and Uber surge pricing. Maybe they went home to buy Travis Scott tickets.
R.I.P. Fredo (Notice Me)
Let it Go
Half & Half
Do That Shit
Long Time (Intro)
R.I.P. Fredo (Notice Me)
wokeuplikethis* (Chopped and Screwed version)
SICKO MODE (Travis Scott cover)