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CONCERT REVIEW: Vince Staples @ The Bluebird - 3.5.16

Adam Sputh

 If you were a fan of Vince Staples’ most recent project, Summertime ’06, when it came out, then you were probably there for the first headlining show that he put on in Denver at Lost Lake. From their newly (at the time) renovated sound system, to the undeniably small venue space, that show was truly something to remember, with the artist given the ability to have actual conversations with fans during the show, listening to and actually being able to respond to them. It was an amazing night, especially since the album had just been released to strong critical acclaim.

  So when they announced that he was coming back several months ago, this time to the Bluebird, I wasted no time in purchasing tickets to go see him again. The last time I had seen him was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to - including the awesome local openers. I’ve also never been to the Bluebird, despite having gone to my fair share of shows, so while seeing the act was nothing new to me, the space and surroundings certainly were.

  The first thing I noticed when I first got there was a noticeable age difference in the audience. In the last show, I remember the crowd being either my age or older, but this time it seemed to be the exact opposite. I do not remember if it was a 16+ show, but if it was, it seemed like all the 16-year olds had really taken advantage of this opportunity. It was like somebody just took a dial and turned down the average age - I legitimately felt a lot older than essentially everyone I was seeing. Obviously, he is very popular in Colorado, as this is his third show here since the Lost Lake performance (tucked in between these two is is opening act at Red Rocks in September). But I was surprised as to exactly how popular, as I was able to make it to the very front of the stage about half an hour after doors opened. Driving past the venue before to see what the line situation would look like, there were probably only 10 or 11 people that were actually lined up for the show. All in all, for a sold out show, there seemed to be a remarkable lack of a crowd…

  This ended up being one of the major downfalls to the show, as not only was the crowd not as packed as I was anticipating, but they really didn’t even seem to like the act, either. One of the cool things about the Lost Lake performance was that even though his album had just come out, there were a ton of people there that already knew the words to a lot of it, and everybody seemed really engaged in the artist. Here, nobody seemed to be really that into what was going on in front of them, even though they had paid $30 to go out that night and stand around to loud music. Staples even kept mentioning how low energy the crowd was, constantly bringing up how he’d never seen as many people standing around as this before- there were even several times where he stopped the song he was playing in order to voice his disappointment to all of us. Yes, I understand that is a tactic

  The biggest disappointment to me, however, was the fact that Staples didn’t really seem interested in stepping anything up from his last show. There was nothing interesting with the set, nothing interesting with lighting, and nobody seemed like they wanted to have any sort of fun playing the music. He heavily relied on a DJ behind him which didn’t really seem to be doing anything interesting other than just playing and stopping the instrumentals when Staples told him to. When you’re in an intimate venue with a breakout artist, this could seem like the best way to go, but I was definitely expecting something more in between sets.

  Instead, what I got, was essentially the exact same concert, just with a larger and less intimate, less interested crowd. Of course, it may sound ridiculous to criticize having a fun time at a show, and he simply could have been touring to help fund whatever his next project may be, as he hasn’t released anything in a while… I just think there was more he could have done. I was just a little disappointed, that’s all.

  With that being said - If you get the chance to see Vince Staples live, definitely try to! He’s fun to see live, but unless he really starts stepping up what he does for his act, maybe just once is all you need.