Admittedly, I was late on the Vince Staples train.
I only started listening to him in February 2017 when I came across one of his most well-known tracks ‘Norf Norf’ on a friend’s playlist. Since then, his music and lyrics have captivated me immensely. I took time to listen to all of his releases intently.
Even though I was set to see him at Field Day, I told myself I would need to get tickets to his sideshow if it was announced because I felt like I needed to see him, in his full performance element and not just at a festival.
It’s safe to say Vince did not disappoint. He brought an insane amount of energy during his Field Day performance on Monday 1st January 2018, to the hungover and possibly peaking masses in the crowd. Everyone loved it and enjoying his festival performance, I couldn’t wait until his sideshow the weekend after.
We managed to catch his opening act KUCKA, an avant-electronic project of producer/vocalist Laura Jane Lowther, who records and produces all of the music from found sounds and analog synths from her bedroom studio in Perth (as described by her Triple J Unearthed page).
Her experimental pop beats were calming and soothing. Although I did wonder how such a different genre of music could open for someone as electric, energetic and explosive as a Vince Staples set. With rap shows, I’m used to a hype DJ opening with classic and new rap bangers that get the crowd ready for the main act. I feel like KUCKA was much suited to be opening for someone like Flume or The xx in comparison to Vince Staples.
With the set times released in the days leading up to this side-show, I saw that Vince would be starting his set at 9:45 pm. Right on the dot at 9:45 pm, he came out with an electrifying performance of his track ‘Homage’.
The corresponding shades of orange, light show and visuals were provided behind him on stage in a dramatic and vast backdrop. The colour scheme matching the album cover of his June 2017 critically acclaimed release “Big Fish Theory”.
With the usage of his album art, the lights magnified throughout the crowded Enmore Theatre, reflecting on the right spots of the art deco walls and detailed ceilings. The decision to buy dancefloor tickets paid off as we were completely hypnotised by Vince’s set.
Performing most of his tracks from“Big Fish Theory” (‘Homage’, ‘BagBak’, ‘Party People’, ‘Big Fish’, ‘Rain Come Down’, ‘745’, and ‘Yeah Right’) he also included a variety of songs he’s featured in, from Gorillaz – ‘Ascension’, GTA – ‘Little Bit of This’ and With. You – ‘Ghost (Major Lazer Remix)’.
The crowd happily sweated and danced along, hanging onto Vince’s every word. He used the stage and made his presence known, which captivated and completely energised the eager crowd.
Vince Staples wasn’t just there to showcase his latest album, he also made sure he performed tracks from his previous EP’s that helped him rise to international success and was the reason he was selected to be in Complex’s 2015 Freshman Class. This title is only presented to 10 up-and-coming rappers who Complex feel, collectively and individually are defining the new wave of hip-hop.
His previous tracks mixed with his latest music, allowed all his fans to celebrate accordingly so such an eclectic mix. From ‘Big Time’ his song from his 2016 EP “Prima Donna” to his classic ‘Blue Suede’, a song dedicated to the choices you have to make to survive from his 2014 EP “Hell Can Wait” – the latter being played near the end of the night which made everyone’s energy levels reach an all-time high.
Included in the second half of his performance was tracks from his debut album “Summertime ‘06” released in June 2015, with the tracks ‘Lift Me Up’, ‘Birds & Bees’, ‘Lemme Know’ and ‘Senorita’.
At the end of his one-hour performance was the finale. His most streamed track on Spotify, which has been streamed 51,072,555 times as of 9th January 2018 – ‘Norf Norf‘. The opening lyrics “Bitch you thirsty, please grab a Sprite.” repeated by every single person in the crowded and at this stage extremely sweaty, Enmore Theatre.
Vince Staples is a true performer.
He reads his crowd thoroughly and knows what to perform to keep them energized. He kept to his time schedule as planned and still performed a significant amount of songs for across his discography.
In an era where most musicians are more interested in getting likes for their materialistic behaviour on Social Media and having unwarranted opinions, it’s refreshing to have an artist that’s sole interest is to make quality music and to invest his time into taking care of his fans.
It’s better late than never to get into Vince Staples, and I highly recommend it.
See you at Coachella Vince!
Words and photography by Talica Tamanitoakula
Video by Chau Tran