Theophilus London @ The Independent

03/08/2015

Theophilus London did not disappoint. Wednesday night at The Independent was, as we Theophilus fans like to say, “hella Vibes,” for sure!

The DJ was playing all my favorite songs. A mixture of some old school Hiphop and the new shit on the charts. I was feeling it, I was dancing. My only complaint was when Nicki Minaj’s “Only” came on and he skipped the Drake line. You know, the only reason people listen to “Only” is because they only want to hear the Drake’s verse! Anyway, I scoped around and did a head count of the crowd. Definitely a chill group of people, mostly urbanites and hipsters, the SF usual.

The show started off with Doja Cat, a singing/rapping babe. Her voice was sultry and soulful like Erykah Badu and her rap game like that of Ms. Minaj. She looked tiny and cute in a pink oversized sweater and white clunky heels, played all of her beats off her iPhone and created a definite mood when she performed her hit, “So High.” Most people were already lit, I wasn’t, but she brought me to a trance with her smooth hypnotic voice. Now, Doja Cat may not be on everyones map, but after the exposure from Theophilus and his Vibes Tour, she definitely will be.
While Doja Cat created a comfortable and intimate atmosphere, the next in the line up, Father continued with the same chill vibe, but turned it up with his bouncy beats and breezy flow. Father definitely got the crowd to get funky as he danced in his cheetah coat along side his hype man. “Look At Wrist” was a fan favorite, personally the last song he performed was mine, I didn’t quite catch the name but I remember it had a great bass line and had some of the girls whine up and dropping it low. It was a great lead up to our headliner, Theophilus London.

Again, Theopilus London did not disappoint. He opened up with his fresh new collaboration with Kanye West,  “All Day,” marking his territory by using all the stage to dance and jam out as it played. Although London’s part in the song is just featured in the bridge, when it came time for his part, it was dramatic and magical. He stood facing away from the crowd in profile form, the red lights creating a silhouette around him, and then belted out his verse in strong, deep, voice that filled the whole space and gave me goosebumps.

He performed mostly tracks from his recent album Vibes, as well as remixed hits like “Tribes,” and sung them in more of an acoustic style. He also played some of my older favorites like “Rio.” When he performed “Can’t Stop” (which features good old Ye) he allowed a fan to come on stage and sing Kanye’s verses and took that break to make a wardrobe change, but left his famous hat hanging on a stand next to him.

London also performed “Rio” twice, stopping the first go around and then starting over since he wanted to have the strobe lights on while he performed. The second time, I died because he sang most of the song directly to me! I was right in the front, literally a couple feet away from his body. He had on his shades but from the help of the flashing lights I could see that he was looking straight at me! Another standout performance was “Do Girls”, everyones favorite I’m guessing, since we all seemed to be singing every word along with him.

For “Tribes” he let one of his band members bring up some “sexy ladies” to dance. I was upset because he choose the wrong girls. In spite of the fact that these chicks were cute, they were either too stoned, drunk (probably both) or maybe just awkward girls that did not dance well enough to do Theophilus or the song justice. I wasn’t the only one thinking this as then a blonde let herself on stage to show them up for a total of .15 secs before a long haired mullet guy dragged her off.

Overall the night was fun and cool. Theophilus London’s music is fresh, vibrant, smooth. Makes you want to “vibe out” and move. He definitely brought that to his performance and created a very interactive and immersive show.  The lighting of the show definitely reflected the moods and tones of the songs he performed. They flashed and went lighter during the dancing tracks and turned dark red and blue during the moodier songs. Theopilus has such an enigmatic but personable presence. I really enjoyed and respected the fact that he didn’t need tricks and visual gimmicks to deliver a riveting performance and just brought it home with his vocals, beats, and his very tight band. I give this night four starts out of five. Four not five because I’m still in my feelings about not being chosen to dance.