The day to day traffic was no surprise but the stalled car inside the 94E tunnel certainly was. Arriving to the venue just before the first act took the stage a modest crowd had filled the floor of the Varsity as more concert goers made their way into the theater. 6:30 p.m. seems an unusually early start for things but the crowd, still clearly a bit tipsy from the holiday weekend, was ready. The openers, a local outfit that have dubbed themselves CRAM, hit the stage promptly and with force. Thrashing their way through a series of rock inspired hip hop tracks the group bounced and headbanged across the stage. The riotous stage presence proved too much for even their own as the groups equipment fell to the floor as the DJ scrambled to save the set. A grand finale of sorts. But let that stand a testament. The energy was on that level. At 7:00 p.m. on a Tuesday.
As the local crew cleared the stage and the next act began to set up the energy was bottled up and conserved for whoever would hit the stage next. That ‘whoever’ just so happens to be the Bay Areas own Marty Grimes. Never really emerging from the shadows, Grimes made sure to mention how long he’d journeyed to play for us all and encouraged the crowd to once again let go. And boy they let go. Back and forth between the rapper and the audience, choruses were chanted. There was talk of whisky drinking backstage and there was even a little bit of whisky drinking on stage too as Grimes made his way through his set in what appeared to be near darkness. Drawing to a close nicely with a good combination of a sentimental cut or two and some wild bangers thrown in the mix so as not to be overly sentimental.
Beau Young Prince the penultimate opener took the stage about 8:30 p.m. at the latest. And the Young Prince did his damn thing. He absolutely tore up what was left of the audience and didn’t even break a sweat. An electric performance from start to finish. Again representing for the smokers in attendance he asked the crowd if they’d come to the show “just expecting to do a bunch of standing around?” A little teasing goes a long way with a crowd like this. Spending a fair bit of time damn near in the crowd, Beau made sure to let those in attendance that they were important, that they were part of the experience as much as he was. While his set dwindled into a few more softer records the room was still buzzing.
9:30 rolled around after what felt like an eternity, genuinely only about 20-25 minutes, and the man who took to the stage was not what we’d expected as he was not Xavier Wulf. As he raped his way through a song and began another I was wondering if I’d overlooked something at some point. And just that thought completed in my mind, he appeared. Like lightning from backstage Xavier Wulf had emerged and he was already in full swing before anyone had even registered he was there. From that point on it was madness, though that was to be expected. When you hear a song like Psycho Pass or Whiplash’d it’s impossible to stand still and a challenge not to lose your composure and give in to the music. Those songs are like caffeine injections for the crowd and the bouncing intensified. At this point a proper mosh pit had consumed a third of the crowd and slowed for no one. The aggressive nature of the mosh pit was offset by those at the front screaming “I love you” in attempts to get the attention of Xavier. Excitement is one thing but everyone at this show last night saw a little something special, something wild and memorable.