Everyone’s been to that one party they thought was possibly the grimiest, most unhinged, exercise in calamity they’ve ever experienced – but when they look at it in retrospect, they might reassess and recant that opinion – maybe blame it on the alcohol or whatever else was readily available; Thursday’s Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) concert, held in in Fort Lauderdale’s premier music venue, Revolution, may have been such a night for many of the people in attendance – only it was probably every bit as crazy as they initially thought it was.
Hailing from Shaker Heights, Ohio, MGK, real name Richard Colson Baker, has come to the forefront of the Hip-Hop game over the course of the past couple of years, off the strength of his past two mixtapes, both released independently, 2010’s “Lace Up,” and last year’s “Rage Pack.” Just last year, MGK inked a record deal after being approached by Jimmy Iovine (the man who gave Eminem’s demo to Dr. Dre) and Diddy about being a part of the latter Bad Boy Records imprint. Currently in the process of recording his debut LP, also titled “Lace Up,” MGK has courted considerable fanfare from a ravenous group of fans, as well as the success of his lead single off the new LP, “Wild Boy,” which has debuted at number ninety-eight on the Billboard Top 100 charts.
The night began with a mounting sense of anticipation that became progressively more and more palpable as time elapsed. The opening acts were local emcees of varying degrees of talent – but they quickly became aware of one thing – that the angry mob on hand was not going to be the most receptive audience for their music. Throughout most of the opening sets, the chant “MGK! MGK! MGK!” became a recurring theme of sorts – constantly being shouted after the audience felt the opener had outworn their welcome. One emcee, Quest, was even hit with a projectile thrown on to the stage – and even paused his set to goad the culprit in possibly the most gentlemanly way possible.
The crowd itself, which throughout the show had been flocking into the pit area of the venue, could be described in the following way: white, rowdy and very likely under age, thus accordingly, thoroughly under the influence. The openers were plauged by technical difficulties that kept sporadically interrupting their sets, as well as by the crowd, who continued their mantra incessantly, occasionally bursting into the “MGK!” chant – so when the man finally took the stage, all sorts of hilarity began to ensue. At around 10:30 P.M, MGK took to the main stage, starting it all off by diving off stage immediately, and crowd surfing the whole pit area, then by discussing how he couldn’t play Revolution last year, when Big Sean had performed at the venue – due to the fact that he wasn’t well-known enough – now it seemed, the kid from Cleveland would be headlining the place, in a sudden twist of fate.
As soon as he started rapping, accompanied by rhyme partner and hype man, Slim, what could only be described as complete and total mayhem began to take place in the pit area, a giant mosh pit began to engulf pretty much the entirety of it – with the whitest kids you know running into one another, flailing spasmodically, and acting generally rowdy. MGK was exhibiting as much energy in his raps as in his stage presence, rapping in rapidly-paced volleys, with incomparable flow, all the while running, jumping and chugging freely from the bottle of Patron he had brought on stage with him. He goaded the women in the crowd to expose their breasts – which many did enthusiastically; pulled a dwarf who had incidentally been in attendance from the crowd and to the stage, where he was then encouraged by MGK, Slim, and pretty much the entire audience to chug nearly half a bottle of vodka, not only did he do this – he was then flung from the stage and into the audience by MGK and Slim from his arms and legs, in what was one of the most comical stage displays I’ve ever witnessed.
MGK, clearly under the influence, having chugged freely from his bottle and accepting blunts from the audience, which were smoked on stage, also engaged every part of the venue by walking along the railing along the second floor, then jumping off of it, and into the pit where he was caught by adoring fans. As he got into his signature songs “Chip Off the Block” and “Wild Boy,” the latter of which closed it all out, MGK convinced several of the women in the audience to remove their pants and take to the stage in nothing but their panties – he even made it a point to slap one of them on the ass and straddled her on-stage – in what looked to be the most convincing dry hump I’ve ever witnessed.
It was undoubtedly the most coordinated display of verbal dexterity I’ve been in attendance for – how he was able to continue rapping with the same rapid fire continuity, in spite of engaging in all of these physically demanding on-stage antics was truly baffling. When the storm cleared and the venue cleared out, I was left with only one plausible conclusion: that I had witnessed the most energetic and downright raucous Hip-Hop performance to have come through South Florida in quite some time.