I’m in a concert drought and I hate it. I’m sure there are shows going on that I could be at but the mixture of the cold dark tundra I live in and the stress of adulting by way of buying a townhouse has me sticking around home a lot more than usual. It felt refreshing to get out on Thursday night and although it was for an artist I have seen almost more times than I can count, it just felt nice to get back inside of First Avenue and have the feeling of the bass making my hair move and my cheeks hurting from smiling so much. I walked into the show as just another concert– one that I really didn’t need to be at– but it ended up being a show where one artist may have me re-thinking my top five sets of the year and the other performers had me completely captivated.
Last Word got things started with a DJ set full of irresistible beats which gave the audience a couple of minutes to de-thaw and socialize before the rest of the acts took the stage. Although I feel bad for calling Last Word a background act for the conversations raging around me, that’s what he was. His music was there and definitely didn’t go unnoticed (nor did his talent) but he seemed to struggle to get any response out of the crowd when it came to him asking the audience how they were doing. It didn’t stop him and Last Word had the audience warm and ready for what was coming next.
What came next was a huge surprise to me in the best way possible. I had never heard of Nur-D (say it outloud– Nur-D, NurD, NerD, Nerdy– get it?!) but was enamored by him within his first song. Playful yet powerful, there was something painfully genuine about Nur-D and his performance. He definitely had that Minnesota hip-hop vibe that I have fallen in love with over the years but he also had a very Los Angeles spark about him that was infectious and had me smiling from ear to ear. Nur-D is a clear showman with a personality that shined brighter than the stage lights throughout his set. Even when he was joined on stage by three horn players for an explosive ending to an already thrilling set, Nur-D had the audience captivated by his every move. I honestly thought this bubbly and fun personality was an act put on only when on stage but when I was denied a t-shirt due to them being out of my size (I waited too long– I seriously think about 74% of the nearly sold out audience had rushed his merch table after his set), Nur-D politely encouraged me to keep an eye on his social media because he would put them up soon. This was such a small moment but even in this brief interaction, I felt like I had known Nur-D for years. He was comfortable, honest, kind, fun and I knew that his personality wasn’t just an act… he seriously is just an all around amazing guy. I knew within the first couple of seconds of his set that he was going to be a new obsession of mine and, by the end of his set and the night, he landed a spot in my top five sets of the year (which is shocking because he knocked out Angels And Airwaves). Nur-D is my new favorite and I can’t wait to see him again soon.
I went into Thursday night’s show as just another show but it became so much more very quickly. From witnessing Evidence’s talent, listening to Last Word’s creativity, enjoying Brother Ali’s painfully positive attitude, to falling head over heels for Nur-D– last night was more that just another concert.