It was apparent that it was going to be a special night for the Brooklyn native Hoodie Allen from first glance at the monstrous line to enter the doors of Warehouse Live in Houston.
Allen appears to spare no cost on his tour expenses, having multiple Mercedes Sprinter vans parked along the venue, his own personal tour bus, and even a 18-wheeler. This comes as a surprise being that the young artist only has about three U.S.A. tours under his belt, while more established artists don’t even require so many vehicles.
Doors opened at about 8:45 p.m., and the crowd stormed the entry to get first dibs near the stage. Italian R&B singer Blackbear kicked things off to start the show, pumping up the crowd by serenading them with cuts from his album Deadroses. Blackbear’s stage production featured a white screen (which a projector illuminated with vibrant colors), a drummer, and a wooden box that he would stand on occasionally throughout his performance. The former writer for Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” ignited the crowd, as they sang along with him during the majority of his set.
A fellow California native appeared to the stage once Black Bear wrapped things up: Kyle aka SuperDuperKyle. Before making his grand entrance to the stage, Kyle’s hype man/DJ/band member, SuperDuperBrick, warmed up the crowd by having them clap along with him. Five minutes later, Kyle took the stage…with a light saber! Next, was a somewhat prelude to his performance, as him and Brick battled each other — attempting their best Star Wars reenactment. The movie nerd in me really enjoyed this part, as did many others.
Once the duel was over and Kyle emerged as victor, the emcee began to jump around with his green light saber rapping to his song “The Force.” Two songs later, SuperDuperKyle and SuperDuperBrick broke out their full synchronized dance routines (something I’ve never seen from a rapper before) — which was awesome.
From his performance and previous songs, the Ventura, Calif., native seems to not give any f–ks about public perception, breaking the mold of what’s to be expected from a modern day rapper. His stage props exemplified that as well, featuring Super Mario-inspired clouds and tunnels that shot out fog.
My only complaint was that the rapper didn’t bring along a tour DJ for his act, which was somewhat detrimental to his performance. Instead, Brick had to play the part, while also playing part-time hype man. After the two got the crowd engaged, Brick would have to run over to the DJ table as the song was about to end. Kyle would then try to mask the delayed next song by talking or having the crowd participate in some “when I say this, you say that” shenanigans. Although there were a few minor glitches during his set, he was able to make up for it by bringing out a bad ass guest: Pikachu.
At approximately 11:05 p.m., Hoodie Allen finally stepped onto the stage wearing all black and a yellow bandana. He opened his set with “Introduction to Anxiety,” the first track on his newest album. He performed many of the songs from his recent album Happy Camper, alternating with tracks like “All About It,” “No Faith in Brooklyn,” “Small Town,” “Two Lips” and “Act My Age.”
The Brooklyn pop rapper seemed to be winded in his first five minutes of performing, and continued to run out of breath his entire performance. But the (sold out) crowd didn’t seem to mind. They jumped around and sang along with him the whole night. Allen wasn’t Hollywood with his audience at all, and even jumped down from the stage every now-and-then to interact with his enthusiastic fans.
Allen’s stage set up featured translucent blue lights that lit up displaying his name, and a caged elevated stand for his drummer. Live instruments always bring a new dimension to a live set, which is becoming somewhat of a trend for modern day rap artists.
Although he reminds me of an awkward mixture between Drake and G-Eazy, Allen is an interesting performer to watch nonetheless. If this guy ever decides to sign with a major record label, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finally makes that crossover to mainstream.
To conclude the night, individuals in the crowd made their way to the “merch” table, enticed by the possibility of meeting Blackbear, Kyle and Hoodie Allen. Sure enough, all three artists were waiting, ready to take photographs and sign merchandise.
Hoodie Allen Setlist
Intro To Anxiety
Remind Me Of
Are U Having Any Fun?
Act My Age
Let It All Work Out
Champagne and Pools
All About It
So Close To Happiness
King To Me