Those lucky enough to score tickets to Vince Staples’ sold out Noise Pop show Friday were treated to a performance that lived up to the hype. By the time Staples took the stage around 10:15pm the air in Social Hall SF was almost unbearably hot and the mood of the crowd was electric. I could already feel that it was going to get crazy, and by the end of the night Vince Staples had the majority of the room bouncing.
When we wrote about Staples before the show we discussed the realism and personal story telling that he brings to his music, and it was on full display Friday night. He got the crowd going early, opening with “Lift Me Up.” The song is a not-so-subtle examination of life as a black man in America, and as he rapped you couldn’t help but notice that the crowd was overwhelmingly white. Staples noticed as well, and addressed the composition of the crowd several times over the set. He jokingly had a show of hands for people of color in the crowd and calling out specific people in crowd yelling awkward things as “white guy” or “white girl.” There wasn’t any malice in this, he just calls it like it is, in his art and in life.
Staples is touring on his successful 2015 release Summertime ’06 and we were surprised to hear how rowdy some of the songs got live. What can feel calm and collected on album was incendiary live. People were throwing their hands in the air, jumping, and between songs Staples even had to warn people to stop pushing towards the stage because people were getting crushed up front, specifically calling for the crowd to look out for the females in attendance. Solid move.
Staples save two of the big guns for the end of the show, closing with hits like “Blue Suede” and “Señorita.” The last 15 minutes of the show were what you love to see, people jumping, losing their minds and singing along to all the lyrics. While at the end of the night I did miss some of the more delicate and complex tracks that made Summertime ’06 such a revelation, the energy and performance skills Staples brought to the stage more than compensated.
Check out the pictures from the show by Dace Hines: