I had never been to RBC, my friend commented that it would probably be just a hole-in-the wall. His suspicions were confirmed when we walked in, and I couldn’t be more excited. Small venues lead to more intimate shows, and Smino’s newest album, blkswn, quickly became one of my favorite albums to come out this year.
The crowd was tiny when we first walked in, but soon filled up. The openers are all a part of the music collective “Zero Fatigue.” Bari was up first, and he had a good stage presence, but the crowd was very small at the time, meaning the energy was low. His set was short, but gave a good look into his music.
Jean Deaux followed, and she seemed comfortable on the stage. Her confidence combined with her own dance moves managed to get the growing crowd to move along with her. In addition, between sets people would break out into dance, and a small crowd would gather around them to cheer them on.
The DJ that played in between sets did a good job maintaining the crowd’s energy. He didn’t play any of the really popular hip-hop songs right now, such as “Bad and Boujee,” or “Tunnel Vision,” which have been heard everywhere for the past few months. Instead he opted to play tracks by Chief Keef, Usher, and others, which was incredibly refreshing.
The last opener to play was Jay2, who came out jumping all over the stage. He made an effort to interact with the crowd often, encouraging a call-and-response during a couple of his tracks. Jay2’s intensity was a perfect way to get the crowd ready for Smino.
Before Smino came up on stage, some live instrumentation set-up, including two backup singers, and the stage lighting turned red and purple, like the cover of blkswn. Live instrumentation at hip-hop shows is not the norm, but is always a very nice addition that adds an extra layer to the overall atmosphere. He took the stage on crutches, having a fractured foot which prevented him from being able to move around very much, but he didn’t let that stop him from putting on a good show.
Small venues allow for good crowd interaction, and Smino made sure to introduce everyone on the stage with him, including Monte Booker, his main producer. He got the crowd jumping, and managed their energy well, with songs such as “Anita” and “blkswn.”
This is Smino’s first tour, and so far his career is looking very promising. He seemed right at home on stage, and had no issues getting the audience involved. Smino delivered high intensity, as well as more mellow, expressive moments. The live instrumentation was a nice touch, and showed that he’s willing to go the extra mile, despite it being his first tour. During the show, he stated that Dallas was one of the best so far, and although artists say that all the time during performances, this time it really felt genuine.