Words by Leila Salter, photography by Shelley Te Haara
The bruised feet, the almost being toppled over, and the concoction of sweat was barely enough to even begin to take away from the power of 6lack’s performance. Being there amongst another 2k people only heightened the experience. A sense of peace strongly overtook me while I was front and centre in the seemingly vicious mosh pit, and I couldn’t help but close my eyes and go to that same place he usually takes me.
His voice and music usually resonate around my inner-city apartment when I am at my most contemplative. Have a listen to his song PRBLMS. Close your eyes, let your body and mind react to the feeling of this song. His music will carry your soul with ease to a mellow place of thoughts and meaning. The lyrics to his music are deep and touching helping to trigger a mindful pause and tasteful throught anoint the brain. His music triggers my mind to transcend everything “surface-level” towards what matters. Passion is woven in with the the comforting feeling that he understands life and gets the essence of what it feels like.
Seeing him in person was incredible and how you would imagine him when listening to his music. I could feel that he was so present with his music and with putting his heart into sharing what he had created. It seems like he has a strong stable core from the way his songs confront the valuable. His refreshing sounds feel like some sort of spiritual experience, whatever that means to you.
I am still able to feel the empowering effects of this energetically vibrant performance by Migos. Gifting one of the best hip hop albums this year to the world meant that it was especially amazing having them perform for the first time in New Zealand at the Spark Arena.
DJ Durel, Migos’ DJ came on stage playing some absolute bangers which everyone attempted to vibe to but with the disjointed transitions between songs made this challenging. I’m sure that with a little more BPM matching and cueing skills the crowd won’t feel as awkward. Another critique is that the concert ended so abruptly everyone was unsure whether the show was actually finished which was anticlimactic leaving me with a slightly empty feeling.
Like any star struck fan I fell even more in love with Quavo, Offset and Takeoff at 9:45pm when their swag anointed the stage. Like when you have to believe your mum’s words of pure admiration, I too believed that they meant it when they said New Zealand was giving them the most energy they had ever received from a crowd. Their music, the anthems young people vibe to in a club, or wish they were old enough too anyway. Play a couple of seconds of Bad and Boujee then everyone’s singing along vibrantly to the perfectly crafted chart topping rhythm.
Migos’ embodiment was reflected in the sea of fiery, energetic, young people who were totally feeling themselves more than ever. As I looked around I had a moment of appreciation taking in how attractive everyone was looking. I think it was the unfaltering confidence being exuded from the crowd as they mimicked the super stars personas. An epiphany came to me. At what other events do thousands of people gather like this, how does music achieve this sense of unity? Are we all searching for what makes us happy, what we love, what society tells us to love?
They weren’t easily accepted because they brought a different style of new school hip hop. Relaxed unlyrical songs now top the charts, repetition is what the brain enjoys, it knows what to expect. Bringing confidence and having each other as backing works so cohesively for them. They brought a fresh perspective with new techniques of mumble rap and being a trio. They have some of the best ad-libs which are sound effects made verbally that are disjointed, adding hype to keep the listener engaged. I’ve been living full time in my Migos merch which shows how incredible the show was.