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« The Hood Internet Releases Mixtape Volume 6 Contest: The Right Now Record Release Show @ Lincoln Hall »

Concert Tue May 08 2012

Review: The Weeknd @ Lincoln Hall, 5/3/12

I remember sitting in music business classes while our professors assured us that you can't make it in the music industry if you give away your music for free. No matter how radical our new thoughts (at the time) were that you could, they refused to budge. Well, years later I finally have a perfect case study to refute their claims in The Weeknd. Sure, other bands have given away their music for free (the almighty Radiohead) and most bands now find it standard to give away music, but few have had the trajectory from obscurity to having a choir of fans. The Weeknd has done just that. With three free releases under his belt, and only a handful of shows, he sold out his Lincoln Hall show in nine minutes. It's a different industry than most people visioned, but clearly it works.

Despite the downpour of rain, the line to get into Lincoln Hall snaked around into the alley. Girls in tiny dresses perched on high heels waited with signs of adoration to get inside. Seriously, there were fans with signs declaring their love at the front of the stage, like a grown up hipster Justin Beiber show. With no opening act, The Weeknd took the stage as the echo affects on "High For This" kicked in, the crowd started screaming. This is what an Internet sensation looks like in the flesh. The crowd sings along to every word, the girls down front wave their signs high in the air, and people are leaning over the balcony while pumping their fist in time. Abel Tesfaye, the former mystery man behind The Weeknd, is still coming into his own performing live. At times, he seems a bit nervous and not quite secure with his stage persona. His vocals are spot on, but his body language is a bit tense. And his dance moves are sweet in the sense that you are watching a young boy dance around his room to his favorite worn out Thriller tape. In fact, the Michael Jackson moves make the obvious vocal connections to just how much of an influence the pop king was on Tesfaye's vocal style.

I was worried about how the music would transition into a live setting with a live band, but the arrangements worked well, some even better live than recorded. As the band started up "The Birds Part 1" the drum parts snap to attention, adding a crispness to this track. Same goes for the live arrangement of "The Zone" and "The Knowing" which were some of the standout tracks of the night and clearly better live. Many of the songs I feared would fall flat onstage bloomed perfectly, despite my neighbor singing along to every word. I cannot state enough how rabid this crowd was for this show. Maybe it's the excitement of seeing someone for the first time, or feeling like you are part of something as it's on the rise. The set wound down with a stripped down acoustic version of "Wicked Games" a track that becomes incredibly sad with just a guitar backing it, but still showcased Tesfaye's powerful vocals. Sadly lacking from the set was two fan favorites "What You Need" and "Life Of The Party" but the crowd seemed satisfied as they fawned and chattered with band members milling about after the show. It was an impressive first taste, an interesting glimpse into an alternate rise in the music industry, and overall a stamp of approval for The Weeknd.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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