Vince Staples’ brings The Life Aquatic Tour to Minneapolis


Thursday night in Minneapolis there was really only one place to be. And that place was First Ave for The Life Aquatic Tour with Vince Staples and Kilo Kish. Bill Murray was DJing, Jeff Goldblum was bartending and Owen Wilson was working security. Ok, so that was only in my dreams that the cast of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic showed up, but Vince Staples definitely drew heavily on The Life Aquatic aesthetics making for honestly one of the most memorable sets I’ve seen in a long time.

Before I get to Vince Staples – let’s talk about Kilo Kish. Kilo Kish (aka Lakisha Kimberly “Kish” Robinson), was the perfect person to hit the road with Vince Staples. Both of them are artists in every sense of the word. Their music, their aesthetics, their live performances –  from the staging to lighting, is done to perfection. Kilo Kish’s set was heavy on the theatrics, which makes sense for this art and fashion school grad. There was definitely no shortage of showmanship, or show womanship, from Kilo Kish. The crowd at first seemed a little intimidated by her stage presence, but as the set progressed, the crowd definitely warmed up to this UK-based songstress.

At just 23 years old Vince Staples is an artist who is wildly gifted beyond his years. Hailing from Long Beach, California, Vince Staples draws heavily on his time growing up in Long Beach. Staples clearly has experienced a lot of the darker sides of life for such a young age. Last nights’ set definitely seemed to reflect that. There was no shortage of energy from Staples but he was definitely more reserved on stage than I expected. He barely spoke to the crowd, but rather seem to let his music and the sometimes politically fueled content of his songs do the talking. His set on Thursday in the mainroom was absolutely chilling. “Rap” shows are always a little hit or miss – but Vince Staples proved he really is in a league of his own musically.  Perhaps most striking was the ease, effort and clarity Staples rapped with. Every rhyme was sung with with a sense of urgency behind it. The sound in the mainroom definitely worked to his advantage last night as well. Staples worked the stage solo, no DJ, only three giant screens with rotating underwater imagery and again, drawing heavily on the visuals and aesthetics from the classic film The Life Aquatic.

The setlist mainly drew from his 2016 Summertime ‘06 album including  “Lift Me Up,” “Norf Norf,” and “Jump Off The Roof.” The only new song he performed was BagBak, which we assume is off his forthcoming album Big Fish Theory (track listing has yet to be released). Overall, Staples set was brooding and dark, bordering on spooky. Although it had a heavier feeling to it, that seemed only fitting for this shall we say, dark, political times we’re in. Listening to Staples rap lines like “prison system broken, racial war commotion,” and “Obama ain’t enough for me, we only getting started” and “clap your hands if the police ever profiled” with circling hammerhead sharks play on the screen behind him, the messaging was definitely not lost. At the surface Vince Staples might just seem like another dude rapping about his hometown, but last night’s performance showed he is so much more than that. So even though Bill Murray was there, The Life Aquatic tour was still a 10/10.