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Review Tue Sep 29 2015

A$AP Rocky Electrifies the Aragon Ballroom, 9/27

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The hazy stage lights of the Aragon Ballroom shut on at 7 p.m. on Sunday, but fans began waiting outside the locked doors nearly 4 hours in advance. The colossal crowd pushing to get in the sold-out 3,200-capacity venue were lined upside the building, back through the alley, and spilling in front of the bars along Lawrence, forcing the manager of the neighboring Uptown Lounge to emerge shouting at event security to maintain the chaos.

This is a much different picture of pre-show excitement for A$AP Rocky in Chicago than the last show he headlined in 2012.

A lot has changed for the A$AP Mob prettyboy since then. After his trippy debut mixtape Live. Love. ASAP took the internet by storm, he penned a $3 million record deal with Sony and released two No. 1 albums, each furthering his unique concoction of acid-soaked dream rap.

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However, the havoc tonight is not just caused by the Harlem rapper--the bill is loaded with indie rap internet darlings Tyler, the Creator, Danny Brown and Vince Staples.

"I know y'all hate that bullshit they play on the radio all fuckin' day, we're here to play something different" A$AP Rocky shouted to the crowd between rowdy iterations of his cloud rap tracks "Goldie," "Shabba Ranks" and "Multiply." Massive kaleidoscopic LED screens illuminated the castles and starry sky ceiling of the venue, which brought the dreamlike music to a debilitating euphoria. Purples and pinks danced across the stage during the churning, melodic ballad "L$D" as he performed in silhouette. Currency rained from the ceiling honoring the late A$AP Yams during "M$" as he climbed and jumped from the two-tiered stage. A$AP Rocky has always been ready for bigger venues and higher production.

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Tyler, the Creator's set, on the other hand, got lost in translation. While his setup with the oversized baby blocks and toys provided a fun atmosphere to watch him to childishly flail his limbs around during twisted shock-rap bangers "Domo 23" and "Tron Cat," his lines of wondering if "my father would ever like me" could not be held seriously, especially among the night's party vibe.

Detroit goofball Danny Brown and California prodigy Vince Staples served up brief opening sets that each managed to hype the crowd with a tinge of darkness. Danny shook his tongue and threw lopsided afro around to the creeping sing-song "25 Bucks," and revisited his dealing days with an abraisve performance of "Side B (Dope Song)," declaring the punny, telling line, "Not my last dope song/But my last dope song." Staples emblazoned the stage with tracks from his recent haunting collective Summertime '06, and rejoined Rocky for a duet of his clattering call-out "SeƱorita."

 
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evanart / September 30, 2015 11:28 AM

Gotta say I was really disappointed with how the Aragon handled this event. First of all, the tickets claimed the doors would open at 5:30, while they posted on their website that the doors would open at 6:30, and didn't clarify when asked which was accurate. Secondly, they took a ridiculous amount of time getting people through the security, which cased the line to stretch so long. Were metal detectors really necessary for that crowd? Was it really necessary to split up male and female lines, causing a massive bottleneck?

That ridiculous line caused me to miss out on both Danny and Vince, which was massively disappointing. The could have at least posted something on social media saying "we're expecting a long line for this event, please come x hours early if you want to see the opening acts".

I doubt I'll be going back to the Aragon for a show like this any time soon.

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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 »

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