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« Death From Above 1979 Came Down on the Riviera Pulling Strings: For Classical Music in Chicago, You Got a Guy - December 2014 »

Hip Hop Mon Dec 01 2014

Vic Mensa Rocks the Metro (Nov. 28)


I saw Chance the Rapper at the Riv at year. I think it was either the day before or the day after Thanksgiving. It was a sold out show, shortly after Acid Rap had come out and he was excellent. It was the performance of an emergence. As Chance juked around stage under the bright lights, rapping along with thousands of fans, you felt that something was happening. Coincidentally, this performance was the first time I saw Vic Mensa and the last time I saw DJ Rashad before he passed away.

Let me clarify. I'd seen Mensa once or twice before as the lead singer for Kids These Days and I'd heard his then recently released Innanetape mixtape, but watching Mensa cameo during "Cocoa Butter Kisses" during Chance's homecoming set was my first glimpse of seeing him as a solo artist. Fast forward almost exactly a year later. After touring around the world and releasing a series of singles, Vic Mensa returned to Chicago for a sold out homecoming show at the Metro, also during Thanksgiving.

On stage wearing a bright red leather jacket reminiscent of Michael Jackson's video for "Thriller", Mensa appeared full of confidence, pivoting from the psychedelia of "Orange Soda" to the bravado of "Wimmie Nah" to the classic Haddaway "What is Love"-inspired vocal house stylings of "Down on My Luck" with relative ease. Augmented by a guitarist, a DJ, visuals of the Jordan era 90's Chicago Bulls, and a literal ton of confetti, Mensa lead the crowd to an almost riotous state during songs like "YNSP" while his take on The White Stripes "Seven Nation Army" took on an somewhat EDM aesthetic with flourishes of juke and jungle while still staying true of his minimalist rock origins. At some point during the night, Chance the Rapper made a surprise guest appearance to rap along Mensa as the duo performed the b-side, "Suitcases."

A large portion of Mensa's set was dedicated to testing out new music from his upcoming EP, "Street Lights." "I Ain't Trippin" appears to be the follow up to "Down on My Luck," an unapologetic attempt to enter the mainstream conversation and Top 40 that works because its such a fun well crafted pop song.

Mensa ended his set with the crowd pleaser, "Feel That." With the entire building seemingly shaking from the impact of the omnipresent bass, Mensa stage dived into the crowd full of fervent believers as the Savemoney crew danced on stage sharing this moment of glory he's worked so hard to achieve.

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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.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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