Tucked away in the heart of Dinkytown, there can be found one of the best venues I have fancied in quite some time. I must admit, I have a bias when it comes to The Varsity theater as I was a student at the University of Minnesota, but this was somehow my first time visiting – about a year out of classes. Never mind the college kids running around the campus bars – this crowd lining up on 4th street was not here for games or house parties; we were all in line to see Jacquees, the “King of R&B,” who would end up wowing a packed audience last Thursday night.
Opening the show were two fantastic artists, Bluff City and DC Young Fly. Bluff City is an R&B group from the Atlanta, Georgia, known for their 2018 breakthrough hit “Let Me Show You” that was produced by Grammy-associated Troy Taylor, the 4-man group has been gaining more and more momentum with time and was a fantastic warm-up for DC Young Fly and Jacquees. DC Young Fly started rapping in 2011 and is known for not only his music but his comedy and acting, specifically known virally for “roasting” the likes of Drake and Kevin Hart. Also from Atlanta, Georgia – Young Fly brought a little bit of everything to the stage before we were finally able to witness Jacquees.
Jacquees is unlike any other artist I have seen to date, for a variety of reasons. For starters, I am not a huge R&B fan, so this show was truly an exposure to something I was completely unfamiliar with coming into the night. The crowd was one of the most social and friendly groups I have ever mingled with at a show, taking the time to chat with me about their favorite songs of his such as “B.E.D.,” “You,” and “Risk it All.” Everyone I bumped into was conversational and just happy to be there which I think says a lot about Jacquees’ fan base. On stage, however, was also something sensational. The amount of dancing throughout the show, as well as the soulful and sexy undertones of the entire performance, lead to me saving a handful of his songs and even becoming somewhat of an emerging fan. If the music wasn’t enough, Jacquees’ stage presence was topped off with amazing crowd engagement, at one point even bringing an audience member on stage to dance. Playing through the majority of his popular hits as mentioned before, I was extremely satisfied with how much was given to us this evening on campus.
I wasn’t sure when my first time at The Varsity would finally occur, but I will never forget that chance being provided byway of Jacquees, Bluff City and DC Young Fly. If you haven’t been to The Varsity or seen these acts, I encourage you to try them both out respectively.
So life in Dinkytown went on as we returned to the streets of Collegetown, USA to see the herds of students running between the surrounding social scenes and bustling venues alike; only the few and fortunate of us that night were aware of what fun went on behind those theater doors.