EARTHGANG and The Mirrorland Amaze Last Night at The Varsity.


Despite all that Minnesota is notorious for at this time of year, the Varsity Theater was buzzing more than enough to generate a little heat tonight. A good mix of younger and older fans filled the floor of the venue as showtime drew closer and the party drew nearer Earthgang and Mick Jenkins had come to town. 

Despite the fact that outside the venue walls it was very much the middle of the week, inside it felt like Friday afternoon. Maybe it was precisely because it was Wednesday outside that everyone wanted it to feel like Friday for a second, Mirrorland was descending upon this crowd and they were determined to enjoy this game experience. Drinks were flowing freely (though very much not free) for those of age and the kids packed at the front of the barricade were ready to power on despite their discomfort.

The stage production did much to capture they attention of the crowd as nothing was obscuring it. It resembled a hall of mirrors oven the tours apt title, ‘Welcome to Mirrorland.’ The show started promptly at 7:30, an under appreciated courtesy, and it was an explosive start. It may have been the fact that I haven’t been to a show in months but the bass was appreciate and Jurdan Bryant made swift work of each instrumental in front of him. Mixing his new wave lyricals with classical hip hop mantras like ‘Fuck the Police’ he soon had the crowd eating out go his hand. His brief 15 came to a close and made way for the DJ to add some hype to the mix. 

Sounds were initially disorienting but I found ground in the rhythmic chants of the crowd. A thundering ‘Whats good Minneapolis! Can we get back to the turn up?’ Came over the crowd and the resounding answer was affirmative. The next artist on stage, Wynne, kept the energy alive and even took it up a notch in terms of her stage presence. Far from what you’d expect your typical rapper to look like she was swift in turning the crowd into believers. Mentioning of the late Lexi Alliaj, there was a chant in remembrance of her as Wynne revealed her intentions to bring her out before her untimely passing. Closing out her set with a track readying J.I.D. She is sure got a future ahead of her.

Mick Jenkins was up next. A favorite of mine from the days when hip hop was new to me. I first caught wind of him along with many others after his project Waters. While his music is less rambunctious than the acts that preceded him his veteran attitude on stage kept all in attendance focused. A rare breed of artist nowadays where what you hear on wax is what you hear live. Mick made sure to let us know his latest effort ‘Circus’ was just the prequel to the albums he would drop later this year and asked how the crowd was smoking. His set was low key but his presence on the mic was anything but. There’s a reason he’s been in the scene as long as he has. The man much like everyone else on the tour drips with talent and the ever increasing crowd loved every second. His set made sure to impart the message that “we can’t do this by ourselves, make some noise for yourself” a positive notion that together we can achieve great things. 

Those in the building had been teased one time too many as the last ask if they were ready for ‘EARTHGANG’ got a snappy response. Mick Jenkins wrapped up his set gracefully and a screen was lowered in front of the stage as to not fully give away the stage set up. Im of the belief that this move also did a lot to amplify the crowd and the anticipation for showtime. It’s all part of the experience, I’m all for a show to feel like a show. 

EARTHGANG felt like a show. Upon the duos arrival onstage the cheers were near constant. Bending down to get to know the crowd a young man by the name of Carson would act as the divider as each member tried to hype their respective side of the crowd. By this time the audience extended all the way to the bar surely this was a sold out show right?  The crowd was good and hype as they, ironically, quietly launched into the rest of the set and light returned to the stage. The crowd and all those on stage oozed positivity, something that can often be in short supply in today’s jaded world. It was refreshing and made for an environment where everyone could thrive on a Wednesday evening. The mirrors on stage and lasers above the gangs head lended themselves to the otherworldly feeling of their debut album Mirrorland and brought the experience to another plateau that everyone enjoyed through the shows final minutes.