Things did not go as planned the last time Yelawolf was in town. After just a song, he stormed off the stage and never came back. So why did I try it again last night? Because I honestly wanted him to redeem himself and that’s exactly what he did.
Thinking I had figured out the set times, my friends and I walked in a little late and into a complete mess of people and music. Wild the Coyote was already on stage and I was a little confused as to what was happening. I was expecting a rap show but Wild the Coyote was giving the audience this dirty bluesy roots music. Although not what I was expecting, I was intrigued. I loved the diversity that his music brought to the night and also loved how it highlighted one of the many influences in Yelawolf’s music. Although a rapper, the way Yelawolf blends country and rock into his rap is definitely innovative and having an opening act like Wild the Coyote is quite genius and when Badd Wolf brought his rap game to the microphone above the strumming guitar, it was clear that the audience wasn’t at the show for the innovation happening on stage and with the line-up, they just wanted a good old fashioned rap show.
Following Wild the Coyote and Badd Wolf’s set was The Outfit, TX. TOTX is a rap collective from, you guessed it, Texas. They brought an aggressive and gritty vibe to the night that, although not for me, definitely got the crowd ready for what was to come from the headliner. The collective’s set didn’t seem to last long but it definitely packed a punch. I feel like I didn’t know much about the Texas rap scene but, after watching and listening to TOTX, I get it a little more and it’s something that I think is going to catch on like wildfire thanks to groups like TOTX.
After the short set, a DJ took over spinning old school rap jams. You could feel anticipation and excitement in the air and once the houselights went down, that vibe exploded as Yelawolf took the stage. Yelawolf is Michael Wayne Atha from Alabama. Love him or hate him, this guy has made an empire on his own two legs which is absolutely admirable. What sets him apart from any other rapper out there these days are the influences that drench his southern-styled rap and the lyrics of his raps. If you cut his music down to just the words, you are left with a stunning story teller who talks about growing up poor in the south. Much like the previous two sets, there was a sense of grit that came through the microphone as Yelawolf sang and, like the previous sets, there was an undeniable sense of energy felt throughout the crowd. There’s was also a sense of conviction and honesty that was impossible to ignore throughout the night that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.
Maybe it was because it was a Friday night show or maybe it was because of Yelawolf, regardless, last night was a rowdy show full of people that probably that probably should have been cut off eight drinks ago which made the show feel more like a party than just a concert. The people watching was prime and it was easy to tell the affect that Yelawolf and his music has on people. With some people pushing and shoving in the middle of the next to sold out general admission floor to the people just standing on the sidelines finishing up their drinks, Yelawolf’s show was one of those shows where it didn’t really matter what you were doing, as long as you were enjoying yourself.
I think in the back of my mind I kept waiting for Yelawolf to have another freak out and leave the stage but was relieved when nothing like that happened. The moment when he brought his wife Fefe Dobson out on stage to praise her for all of her love and support said everything I needed to hear from this man in order for him to redeem himself. Everyone has their ups and downs but it’s tough for a celebrity to hide those when they are on stage night after night. It’s cliche but all you can do is keep getting up after you’ve fallen and that’s exactly what Yelawolf did by coming back to town last night and giving Minneapolis what they wanted. It was quite obvious that he is in a better place mentally now and, because of it, he gave Minneapolis a hell of a show.