Last Saturday the Skyway Theatre in downtown Minneapolis held a concert headlining YelaWolf, along with warm up acts Mikey Mike and Big Henri. Two hours before the doors were even opened to the public a line started to form due to the high level of anticipation for this concert.
Before jumping in line I personally was on the hunt to find a little something to eat in the area, so I ended up indulging in some cheese curds at the Depot just around the corner. I'm glad I did this because by the time I got in line (roughly 7pm) we were ready to get inside and check the vibe due to cooler temps out here in Minnesota!
By 7:15pm people were getting very uncomfortable and started to get vocal about it. It was at this point you could start to feel a different energy with the crowd. People started to discuss the last time YelaWolf "performed" at the Skyway Theatre and the dismal ending at his last scheduled performance for the venue.
The night finally got started and the place began to fill quickly. Once inside, the demographic of his fan base was the first thing that caught our attention. We didn't just see youth/college aged adults there. We saw middle class men and women in their 50’s attending this event. For me this is always a humbling and powerful reminder that Hip Hop or rather a person who shows appreciation for Hip Hop Culture has no specific face/ age/ race/ gender....
The first act showed just as much love for the crowd as the crowd was showing them. The energy was building with excitement as each performance was one step closer to the headliner. The crowd kept the merch tables busy with lots of supportive community commerce exchange. A few artists were kind enough to be posted up at the tables to thank the fans for coming out and supporting the event and their efforts.
We were able to grab a quick and informal interview with an artist from Big Henri, and even though there is a lot going on around us today, it was clear Big Henry had something to say about all of it.. and with much respect and love.
Finally it was time for YelaWolf and once again the energy of the crowd couldn't be contained! He was received on stage by screams, loud cheering, and phones raised to the air. His first song "Empty Bottles", was also his last song for the night! During him opening up with his hit song, the mic kept cutting in and out, the sound overall was failing, much less able to amplify his performance for this live of a crowd. Now everything started going sideways.
After YelaWolf was done with the first song, he immediately left the stage. His Dj came out and started spinnin music to keep the energy moving. But after awhile the crowd chanting for YelaWolf to come back on stage had started. People were starting to leave and complain about the situation. Staff at the Skyway didn't seem to know what was going on either. Eventually someone got up on stage from Skyway and tried to smooth things over by promising the crowd a few things. We have yet to see this for ourselves since we too were the crowd..
By the end of the night we were left with a couple questions. All circulating around artists and their experiences with venues, but more importantly their experience and relationships they have with Minnesotans. Nobody knows just yet what really happened that caused YelaWolf to leave. But I personally just couldnt shake the idea that it has more to do with experiences/relationships, though he did eventually release a public statement on twitter.