Earl Sweatshirt at Fine Line, 10/15/13

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Earl Sweatshirt
with Vince Staples
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
October 14, 2013

Earl Sweatshirt is free and touring behind his second album, Doris. Vince Staples played hype man and injected his own songs into Earl's set at the Fine Line last night, as Odd Future's Taco played DJ and the young crowd went batshit. 

The Fine Line was packed and swarming with security, who kept the floor crowd stationed behind lines on the floor and drinkers on the balcony. Lil B, Drake, and Action Bronson cycled through the PA as the sold-out crowd eagerly waited for something to happen. In the two hours or so since doors, there were multiple moments when the audience began to cheer because maybe they saw a guy in a bucket hat or maybe the stage lights adjusted, but it wasn't until Taco hit the stage with Crime Mob's classic "Knuck If You Buck" that the show really got started.

Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
The spry audience had been waiting for the moment to unleash their pent-up energy. Odd Future's mixture of skate-punk lack of fucks and underground hip-hop grit brings out a unique type of rap-show energy, and Taco cycled through some hard-hitting club joints to a crunk-infused mosh pit of sweaty kids who encouraged shoving while turning up. The balcony was certainly less chaotic but lost quite a bit of the show's vibe. Taco's great moment of DJ fuck-you came when playing the intro to Kendrick Lamar's "m.A.A.d. city" before switching immediately into Kanye's "New Slaves" before the drums even hit. Mostly he spent his short solo moment mouthing lyrics and bouncing near the ecstatic audience, many of whom desperately tried to reach out and touch him.

When Earl finally hit the stage with Vince Staples, he jumped right into a pair of throwback tracks from his debut, Earl. In front of a finger-painted banner and a giant inflatable Earl head, the 19-year-old quickly showcased why he generated such excitement when his first mixtape dropped in 2010. His technical mastery belied his age, and his grasp of affecting wordplay had an unprecedented way of riling the mind.

His latest since returning to music buffed some of the rough edges and moved away from shock tactics in lyrics, but kept much of the wordy flow and the personal undertones. The fans have clearly followed since the beginning, and nearly everyone knew words to tracks no matter which album they came from. They seemed generally familiar with Vince Staples's material as well, which was sprinkled in between Earl's songs at certain points in the set. It was a compact way of putting on both artists and still making the show move quickly.

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