I was admittedly jealous of the other Twin Cities Media staffers that were going to be covering the X-Games at US Bank Stadium this year. What is there not to be jealous of? They get to cover a weekend full of crazy sports that fit my style more that football or baseball!! But as the old saying goes, “Aces in their Places”. That jealousy left me once I found out I was going to be covering the X-Games kick off show at First Ave with Prof!
When I arrived at First Ave, the line to get in was down to Hennepin and thankfully, the promised rain held off, so we weren’t standing there getting soaked.
Once inside DJ Shannon Blowtorch had already started warming the already hot crowd. The show technically hadn’t started yet, but she already had the crowd jumping up and down. Shannon brought out the hits and if was just her there, I’m confident the crowd wouldn’t had cared. She brought it.
First on the night was Cashinova, a St Paul native. Cashinova immediately jumped into his set and went for it. He was an unstoppable force. He got an already jumping and hot crowd to jump higher and scream louder. His abilities behind the mic are on another level. He has everything I love as an onstage artist, Anger, Passion, Charisma and Stage Presence. He attacks the mic like there is no tomorrow and gives no wiggle room to rest. He gave an electrifying performance and the crowd ate it up.
Up next was Sa-Roc. If making a first impression matters, then SA-ROC matters. Sa-Rock gently entered the stage and I think she was giving the stage a blessing by burning what I think was sage but could have been something different. It was just a good indication that she wanted the stage to be purified for her performance. Within the first couple of minutes I knew that SA-ROC is going to be a force to be reckoned with. She just has IT! Her voice when addressing the audience is very gentle and almost quiet, but when she starts spitting, she goes off and delivers. Her performance is borderline intense with just enough calmness to not make you go mad. “Where is my hip-hop fans at?” Sa-Roc says before saying she’s going to go old school and asking, “Where is my Wu-Tang fans at”. She then asks the crowd to throw up the Wu-Tang “W” before heading in her next song. Her final song was a song about acceptance and being yourself. She finished the set with the song Forever with the line ‘’No, I’m not flawless. I’m scarred up, and I’m fine with it.” In this day and age, it’s a perfect message for all people to accept yourself and power on. She says she’s “not flawless”, but her performance was.
Prof finally took the stage around 11:50pm. For a Thursday night crowd, this felt like a Friday. What more can be said about Prof that hasn’t been said and written a hundred times? He can rap. He can sing. He can dance. He can do it all, but more importantly, he can ENTERTAIN! There are a lot of musicians out there that may be great at the music aspect of it but sometimes they fall short on the entertaining part. Not Prof. He knows how to work the room from the back of the stage to the very front of the venue. Not one person is left out of the fun. Can we just talk about his smile? His smile never once left his face. I guess when you are having that much fun on stage, you can’t help but to smile. Prof and his DJ Willie Wonka delivered what feels like an hour and a half show and not once during that performance did the show slow down or feel dull. If you are considering a workout with cross-fit or some other cardio, save the money and go to a Prof show. The crowd was a nonstop cardio class of jumping up and screaming their heads off.
Prof has this weird attractable personality to him. He feels like the true class clown that just has to entertain his classmates. He does this meticulously with smart, witty, tongue in cheek lyrics, heavy bass lines and non-stop fun with confetti, beach balls and crowd participation. Last year, Prof retired his inflatable raft that he usually rides in the crowd. I was bummed out by that. But after “Borrowed Time”, Prof says, I know I said I retired the raft but I’m going to bring it back! That popped the already extremely hot crowd to another level. And out comes the raft. Prof and DJ Willie Wonka road around the crowd before jumping back on stage with all the performers for a big send-off that sent the crowd home happy.
I might not have been covering Skateboarders or BMX riders at US Bank Stadium, but to be a part of the X-Games Kick Off show with Prof, Sa-Roc and Cashinova at First Ave was something special and I can’t wait till next year.