There is a phenomenon that is sweeping the younger generations. Call it emo-rap, mumble rap, call it whatever you want and bash it all you want but it’s clearly a phase that is going to last awhile. I’m too old to understand and am not sold on the sound of these young rappers but a lot of people are so I keep going back to their shows to try and figure it all out. I’ve seen Lil’ Peep (RIP), Lil’ Pump– basically the entire Lil’ family– but last night was my first time seeing Lil Xan and although I knew what I was going to get, I was still exciting to watch the hysteria unfold around me.
My friend and I were a little late getting into the show due to the early start time and the longer than usual entrance line. As we made our way to the front, he and I were some of the few to get a wristband for drinking purposes. It would be an understatement for me to call the crowd young– they were babies. The conversations swirling around us while waiting in the line in the bitter winter air seemed to revolve around the amount of “syrup” they were on and their Olive Garden lunch the other day with the super hot waiter. Okay, yes, I was bored and breathed a sign of relief as my friend and I got in, pushed our way through the sold out crowd and found ourselves in an empty corner of The Cabooze.
Once my glasses un-fogged and we got settled into our corner of solitude, I looked at the stage and realized the show was already going full-force. The young crowd was screaming along to every word of every song that the DJ was pumping through the speakers. It was honestly as if they were watching an actual performer, not just a computer and a guy hitting the space bar but I digress. Each song was just as unrecognizable as the last to me but apparently I was the only one in that boat and watched in awe as the crowd went apeshit every time the song would switch. After a couple of ‘bangers’ (as the kids call them), a couple familiar faces came up on stage.
FREEWIFI is a bit of a local super-group featuring J. Plaza, Tha Rift, and Daddy Dinero behind the microphones. Their energy and vibes were just what I needed to get into the mood for what was to come. Sure, the music coming from the laptop was great and the DJ (who I never caught the name of and I apologize) was entertaining the crowd like any good DJ would but that’s not my scene or style. I need people and passion on stage, not just a computer and spacebar. FREEWIFI may have only played one or two songs but it was perfect and their energy was definitely enough to have the trio being swarmed by young new fans after the set.
After a couple more ‘bangers’ from the DJ, it was time for $teven Cannon to take the stage. Unfortunately, I know very little about this Steven character and there isn’t much online but I can tell you that the crowd knew exactly who he was and the screeching was painful to my ears when the Steven (or $teven) took the stage. From what I heard in the crowd, it sounds like $teven is the guy who found Lil Xan and is part of the “Xanarchy” group (we can discuss all this ‘Xan’ stuff in a minute). I was honestly impressed that so many of the audience members were so into $C’s music especially when it was clear they were all at the show for Lil Xan. It proved to me that, although the crowd may still be developing a good taste in music,, they have respect for the “backstage” people when it comes to some of their favorite acts.
After a few more songs from $C and then the DJ, movement on stage started to get a bit more frantic and the anticipation in the air seemed to break. The screams went from ear-piercing to deafening as an entire crew took the stage and Lil Xan appeared from the middle. The crowd went nuts and Lil Xan wasted no time jumping into what would turn into an extensive 30 minute set. I watched in awe as the mostly female crowd pushed so hard that they broke down the barriers that separated the audience from the stage. Within just a song or two there were girls practically standing on stage. As if that didn’t obstruct your view enough, they all had cell phones out and ready for that perfect picture of the lil’ guy.
If you aren’t keeping up with the kids these days, maybe now’s a good time for me to tell you — Xan would be short for Xanax. So we were at a Lil Xan show and his tag line/ group/posse/ whatever you want to call it is ‘Xanarchy’ but before you jump to any conclusions– he’s anti-Xanax. Diego (aka Lil Xan) has made multiple statements that he is anti Xanax– a drug that has killed many people in this whole ‘sad rap’ scene most notably Lil Peep. At the beginning of his set, he asked the crowd what they would think if he changed his name to Diego. With a roar of support, it became clear that this may be Lil Xan’s next move and, if you ask me, it wouldn’t be his worst idea. I get that he’s a recovering Xanax addict and wants to help people get clean but with a name like Lil Xan, it can get a bit confusing. He has mentioned changing his name in interviews lately and after the positive response from the crowd, I wouldn’t be shocked if Lil Xan turns into Diego in the next couple of months.
Lil Xan doesn’t have a full length out at this point and is still more of a “Sound Cloud” artist than the album type but it’s working for him. His singles have already gained him a devoted fan base and have catapulted this youngster into a world of fame. You can tell by the way he carries himself on stage that he will not be one of those that burns out before his flame is brightest. This is one of the rappers that I truly think will outlast this phase (if it is a phase) and go onto great things. When the set ended, and after a quick one song encore, Lil Xan was rushed back to the van before fans could swarm him. It’s that devoted fan base that will keep this kid going as long as he wants to be on the ride.
Last night’s show went exactly how I thought it would go and watching the hysteria around me was definitely entertaining.
Just like my dad always says– He’s great at what he does, I just don’t like what he does.