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Earl Sweatshirt starts the fun at Concord Music Hall

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Earl Sweatshirt performs at Concord Music Hall. (Josh Leff / The DePaulia)

Earl Sweatshirt performs at Concord Music Hall. (Josh Leff / The DePaulia)

Earl Sweatshirt performs at Concord Music Hall. (Josh Leff / The DePaulia)

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In the competitive field of hip-hop where rappers contend with twisted lyricism and mirror-shaking beats, it’s not uncommon for beefs occur. Disagreements over style, political views and location are some of the reasons why even the biggest names in rap may disagree. When these differences are irrelevant a sense of companionship and unity is formed, which is exactly what happened during Earl Sweatshirt’s live show at Concord Music Hall.

The diverse lineup for the show called for an equally dissimilar crowd, as LA-based rapper Vince Staples and New York-born up-and-comer Remy Banks were scheduled to open. The high school-aged attendees fit the Odd Future fan boy aesthetic perfectly, dressed in oversized Supreme hoodies complemented by cargo pants and Vans. For the post-college hipsters, a subtler look was in effect as they preferred to sport circle-lens glasses, plaid shirts, and Converse. Minutes before the show, both groups separated with the younger group smashing into each other standing closer to the stage while the older crowd remained seated on the upper balcony level.

Casually, Remy Banks walked on stage 15 minutes after the scheduled show time to a confused yet still eager crowd. He could almost blend in with audience, sporting a similar oversized sweater with baggy pants, complete with a New York Yankees hat, signifying his East Coast presence in the Midwest. Remy moved through songs quickly, which seemed to confuse the audience even more. The only applause he received was when he demanded it from the crowd, which remained motionless most of the time. A highlight of his set included an acapella over a G-Unit instrumental in which his freestyle demonstrated a flow similar to that of early 2000s rap. Remy’s style and delivery was definitely “New York to the core” as he proclaimed in between songs at one point, but it was not enough to keep the crowd interested.

Soon after, the stage lights shifted to a dim red and high-pitched, haunting synths began to fill the club-like venue. Vince Staples lept out on to stage with microphone in hand ready to make the crowd bounce. Constrained by his blue denim jacket, Staples tore it from his chest after about three songs, exposing a black Metallica tee shirt. “Ain’t You”, a call-and-response hip-hop meets rock banger, demonstrated Staples at his best with complete crowd control. At one point per his request, crowd members held up lighters, creating an intimate atmosphere before the big surprise.

In the middle of Vince’s performance, Earl Sweatshirt ran out to center stage to join Vince and help finish the song. The crowd immediately turned into a full-on mosh pit, with those closer to the stage at risk for being pushed into one another.  Impressed with the crowd’s energy, Earl complimented his fans before continuing with his solo set.

“Chicago, I love y’all man,” Earl says excitedly. “I really f— with y’all energy.”

Earl, with baggy tee and afro in tact, began with older songs from “Earl” and “Doris” before getting into newer material from his latest release, “I Don’t Like S—, I Don’t Go Outside.” He performed the very track from the album with most of the audience mouthing the lyrics in unison. During the livelier songs, Vince and friends of Earl dove into the crowd one after another, alerting security to run on stage to cease their antics. Earl remained unbothered, and encouraged the crowd surfing and continuation of marijuana smoke clouds coming from the crowd. After leaving the stage for mere minutes, the audience’s demands pulled him back on stage to perform his closing song and start the fun again one last time.

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Earl Sweatshirt starts the fun at Concord Music Hall