Watsky and the Infinity Gauntlet

Watsky and the Infinity Gauntlet

Photos/Writing: Kevin Daniels

If you talk about the indie rap scene and don’t mention the name Watsky, I think you’re doing a disservice to the craft. Not only because the man has skills, but he has the years of unrelenting work to back it up: nine studio albums/mixtapes/eps and recently added a book to his name. A guy who started out with a speech impediment that later found spoken word poetry as a way to combat it, and then ran with it.

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When he saw he had a gift he felt it needed to be shared, I felt that spoke volumes for his cred; he rightfully contends with some of the best. He found a vehicle to speak his mind, and holy hell did he. His lyrics are thought provoking, his flows are sporadic and fluid all at the same time, and his energy–well let’s just say he never has a shortage of it. So with all this said, when I heard he was making a tour stop here in the Queen City, I had to witness this myself.

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//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThe Neighborhood Theater in the heart of NoDa hosted the tour on a Friday night of 2016. Finally, I go to a show this Summer and for once it wasn’t as sweaty outside as a pew full of recovering Brazzers actresses on Sunday morning. The line stretched from the front doors of the venue down the block and around the corner, most assuredly this was going to be a packed show. The line started to move forward at a decent pace, I was out of the line in no time, and holy shit was it packed. I prepped my camera for the lighting of the room by taking a few pictures, then I noticed that Witt Lowry, one of the performers of the night, was sitting on the stage talking to fans until the first act came on (trust me I’ll get back to him in a just a few), it’s stuff like that, that made me like him by the end of his set.  

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Daye Jack
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//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsSo first up was a Nigerian-born, Atlanta-raised rapper that goes by Daye Jack. He has a carefree vibe, but can turn quickly political as with his song “Hands Up” featuring Killer Mike. My favorite thing about his set, besides his energy, which made him an absolute awesome opener, was that he didn’t have a DJ or a group up there. It was just him and a drum machine. The highlight of his set was when he played the aforementioned “Hands Up” to the crowd, which received it well and applauded the loudest when he said he wrote it for all of his brothers and sisters dying in the streets for no reason.  At the end of his set he did a little improvised beat on the drum machine which he made say “Thank You Charlotte” through the sound system.

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//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js  Next up was Witt Lowry, the guy I told you about a minute ago. He’s producer/dj came out before him to inform us that at a show in Texas he busted up his knee because he got a little too hype during one of his songs, and  that’s why we would see him limping at times throughout the set. Let me tell you this, if his producer wouldn’t have told us then I wouldn’t have known; the kid was on fire from the first bar that left his lips till the moment he left the stage. The Connecticut based rapper sounds like if Eminem was in his feels like Drake, and no that’s not because he is a white rapper, it’s because he has the aggression, the speed, and the lyrical mastery that Em is known for.

Witt Lowry

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//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsHe performed each song in his set with a fierceness and a 110% attitude that I know by the end he was just as tired and sweaty as the rest of us in the HOT ASS VENUE! He performed the song “Like I Do” which was preaching the b.s. that is being friend zoned, and also the song that is still bouncing around in my head because the hook was super catchy. The crowd was in love with Witt; they knew his words to the point that it was like an echo throughout the theater.  The crowd was bouncing and jumping and moving their hands like this guy was the headliner, honestly I was amazed.  

Chukwundi Hodge

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//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsIt comes to the end of Witt’s set and something really cool happened in between the transition to the headliner Watsky. The Dj/drummer known as Chukwudi Hodge takes the stage, with one main purpose, to make sure the crowd is ready for Watsky, and holy shit he did. He tested us to make sure we could vibe out to different songs and genres, even playing some of his on produced beats that everyone loved. There were several songs that he played and then played the drums over it, to perfection. It was a really enjoyable set, and he was a great performer too.   Watsky4//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

At the end of Chukwudi set the stage went black, while he was still up there, and the musicians came to the stage, a wash of blue light flooded the venue, and there before us stood the man of the hour. Watsky opened up his set with “Knots”, one of the newest songs off his latest album, x Infinity. I felt it was a perfect intro song to the night as it has an easy opening piano that ascended in speed for what Watsky is known for. Articulate but fast lyrics that seem to be written by one of the literary masters of old. Yet, this is what the literary masters of new sound like, they can write ferociously intricate verses and make you contemplate the worlds meaning all within the matter a 3 and half minute song. The energy went through the roof, the room hits peak of hot and sweatiness, the crowd was in sync with the words that fell from the speakers, the vibe in the room was crazy, all together this was a show I was proud to have seen and experienced.

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I’d say that if you have the chance catch Watsky on this tour or any tour in the future, go for it, but if you can catch him and this line up you won’t be sorry.

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