Seeing Watsky perform live has become somewhat of a staple in my life. Once per year, for the past 5+ years, I’ve either trekked through snow to First Avenue or through summer heat to Warped Tour at Canterbury Lanes to see one of my favorite viral video stars turned legit musicians perform live. The crowd is always diverse, and this time was no exception. I looked to my left and felt pretty dang old as I stared into a sea of teens, Snapchatting their view of the stage and gushing about how Watsky’s “so hot omg.” When I looked to my right, I felt a little more in-place. Late twenty-somethings with a Surly in their hand, gravitating towards the back of the venue. Clearly excited for the show, but not trying to get pulled into the madness that was sure to ensue once Watsky hit the stage.
Before Watsky was up, there were a few opening acts to be seen. First up was feed the biirds, my personal new favorite pop-duo. The two members, Camila Recchio and Kush Moody, are part of Watsky’s backing band. It’s clear that they have talent when they’re backing him up… but on their own- damn. Camila’s voice is breath-taking and commands the stage with ease, while Kush Moody was taking turns playing nearly every instrument under the sun. They exuded just the right type of positivity for a gloomy, cold, Minnesota Sunday… and I was sad to see their set come to an end.
Thankfully, next up was a local favorite- Grieves! Due to the fact that he’s from here in Minnesota, it seems like there’s always an opportunity to see Grieves perform sometime in the near future- and that’s a privilege I’m thankful to have. He seemed right at home on the First Avenue stage, and connected with the crowd like he was hanging out with his lifelong best friends. His set consisted of an array of song’s I knew by heart and some that were new to me. Grieves kept the crowd on their toes and set the perfect mood for the main act- Watsky.
8:15 rolled around, and Watsky entered an almost completely pitch black stage. The seemingly split crowd that I had noticed earlier suddenly merged into one big mass of anticipation and excitement. He dove right in to a setlist full of heavy hitting classics and new songs off of “COMPLAINT,” the album that was just released (and the namesake of this tour!) Camila Recchio and Kush Moody (of first opening act feed the biirds) were back on stage as part of Watsky’s always impressive backing band. It’s not often that I see someone on stage both singing and rapping so well, all with a full band backing them.
As the set went on, I found myself getting closer and closer the stage. I just couldn’t help but want to be as close to the action as possible. One of the crowd favorites was “Whoa Whoa Whoa (All You Can Do),” which is a favorite of mine, too. It’s such an easy song to pick up and sing along to, and I have distinct positive memories of singing along to this song at Warped tour in Camden, NJ years ago. It’s a classic, if you ask me.
The show eventually came to a roaring end with calls for an encore that seemed to last for hours. As I left First Ave, I heard excited whispers and muttered rumors that “he always comes out to meet his fans, I know he will!” and, sure enough, Watsky eventually made his way outside to take pictures with fans in front of the iconic First Avenue stars. I didn’t fangirl hard enough to get a selfie with him this time, but with any luck my tradition of seeing Watsky live each year will continue and I’ll have an opportunity some other time.