Concert Review: Mick Jenkins at MetroSmartbar, Chicago

For Fall in Chicago, it was oddly warm during the overcast, autumn night that Mick Jenkins played at the Metro Smartbar.  As quaint and small as the Metro may look like compared to the other venues around the city, it’s nice. It feels comfortable. With a bar tucked in the back and a neat stage to boot, I found myself grabbing a beer and heading up to the balcony section where Mick Jenkins was wrapping up his meet-and-greets. The way Mick interacted with his fans matched the pre-show atmosphere, an all around warm and pleasant environment that was easy to vibe in. This night was to be Mick’s last show of the U.S. Tour and he was back in the city with his friends and family. He was home.

Accompanied by a live drummer, Jenkin’s set was phenomenal, opening with “Alchemy” and getting the crowd ecstatic to start.

STWO, a musician hailing from Paris, started off the show right with his own track before mixing into others. His opening was perfect for a hip-hop show with mixes of songs from artists like Drake and Kendrick Lamar. With the example provided from the link above, he’s an instrumentalist that falls in with the likes of Tycho and Odesza: ambient, electric, melodic, all while meshing in his own RnB and hip-hop influenced style.

FreeNation’s jSTOCK and The Mind were also in the building and jumped up on stage next, which only underlined just how tightly paced and efficiently set up the show was. There was practically no waiting. Intermittently before each set, a song and a half played before artists jumped out to play their set. jSTOCK was a fantastic warm-up and pulled a very energetic set to get us heated to listen to some rap. Despite the heavy preaching in between songs, he had bars which showed potential and reason as to why he’s a part of FreeNation. The Mind contrasted with auto-tuned, singing vibes. Boy’s got pipes and had the crowd feeling right before Mick got on stage.

A lot of Chicago artists also came to show love.

Accompanied by a live drummer, Jenkin’s set was phenomenal, opening with “Alchemy” and getting the crowd ecstatic to start. The crowd was a mostly middle class and white demographic which seemed to upset Mick Jenkins a bit, due to his later talks on racial issues like the Trayvon Martin Case and the Ferguson Riots. Besides that, everyone attending was decent; no one was too rowdy besides the typical why-didn’t-you-smoke-a-blunt-beforehand-and-are-trying-to-smoke-in-here-security-clearly-fucking-sees-you sort of people.

A lot of Chicago artists also came to show love. With the likes of Noname Gypsy and Lil Herb in the building, we all went wild when they jumped out from backstage. You could feel the crowd turn up from 100 to 110 once these artists came out of nowhere. In the middle of the massive amounts of crowd interaction and the sustained hype over back-to-back tracks, Jenkins reminded people to take a breather from the whole concert. He reminded us to take in the inner workings of his true message of the waters and the truth in our lives. Jenkins also took the time to talk about black social issues in America, especially the Trayvon Martin case. With his music, he wanted you to apply the message he communicates and look deeper into our lives and communities as a whole.

Although he was happy to be back home, I felt a tinge of disappointment coming from Mick Jenkins. Maybe it wasn’t a crowd he expected, or maybe he was just tired from the touring. Either way, it was a good welcome back concert hosted by a fantastic venue. I felt as if Mick Jenkins enjoyed his time at the Metro as I did, despite all the problems that still plague us in the back of our minds.

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