Monday night at Red Rocks Amphitheater was the Cud Life Tour and the lineup was insane. It was my first time at this venue and it was absolutely breathtaking. The theater is a rock structure and open air, but what was spectacular was how impeccable the sound was. King Chip opened the concert and gave a strong performance. Although, a lot of the audience members were offended by the Raider's vest he wore (Coloradans take their Broncos very seriously.)
Logic was next and what really stood out in his performance was his deep passion for hip hop. He explained that he had been rapping for nine years prior to being taken seriously in the industry. Logic was truly inspiring telling us that no dream is too big and every dream is possible. My only critique of his set was his DJ. This dude was completely over the top, shouting over his songs with his gelled hair and random throwback jersey. He didn't understand his role as a DJ and he also didn't seem authentic from a hip hop standpoint. I couldn't help cracking up at the act he was so clearly putting on.
Juicy J took the stage next and was one of the major highlights of the evening. He did 36 Mafia classics as well as his bangers off his new album Stay Trippy. A veteran in the game, Juicy J knows exactly how to put on a good show. He was engaging, he was charming, he was hype and he gave a great all around performance. Before leaving the stage, he promoted his $50,000 scholarship that he is awarding to the best twerker. Ladies, send a video to WSHH if you're interested.
Tyler the Creator took the stage with Earl Sweatshirt and Jasper Dolphin. Huge blown up letters spelled GOLF across the stage with a weird blown up face in the middle. Taco, the DJ, summoned on the Odd Future members by doing an interpretive dance before the gang jumped from behind the letters. However, Tyler was not satisfied with the crowd's reaction and therefore attempted the grand entrance again. Once on stage, I was totally blown away by Tyler's performance. He introduced himself and his friends as well as each song never assuming the crowd knew anything about his music. And after energetically jumping around the stage rapping his songs, he would dryly say afterwards "that was cool" as if he hadn't just wilded out moments earlier. He truly interacted with the crowd, calling attention to people who weren't acting crazy or weren't "nasty" as he put it. Simply, Tyler was brilliant. Not only is he challenging and even mocking the norms of hip hop, but he is validating the weirdo inside us all. He had real human reactions on stage, to his friends, his DJ, the audience, and it was refreshing.
Schoolboy Q was a no show, which was very disappointing, however, Cudi gave a lengthy performance that lasted until 1am. With a moon like structure on stage, Kid Cudi emerged right from the center of it with a space suit on doing "Unfuckwittable" from his latest album Indicud. He also performed my favorite tracks from the album "Girls" and "Brothers" as well as "Just What I Am" with King Chip. What really had the crowd going crazy was his performance of "Mr. Rager"as well as his Man on the Moon hits "Up Up & Away," "Soundtrack to my Life" and his final song "Pursuit of Happiness." I had seen Cudi live in 2010, just a year after being featured on XXL's annual Freshmen list and I couldn't even believe this was this same person. In 2010, he wore a plain orange tee and couldn't even stand up straight from all the drugs he was on. He literally transformed into a star onstage with his huge smile and hilariously good dance moves. And in my opinion, with a much more developed sound.