As the U St. Music Hall began to fill up before Father and Theophilus London’s sold out show on a very cold night, anticipation began to rise. People literally ran into the venue to get as close to the stage as possible, and at a place like U St., that means standing almost inches from your favorite artists. Atlanta upstart Father has grown a lot of buzz from his latest mixtape Young Hot Ebony, and songs like “Look At Wrist” and the title track “Young Hot Ebony” has grown his fanbase nationwide. London’s latest album Vibes has continued to push the boundaries of conventional hip-hop music, combining multiple genres and creating an atmosphere relatable to almost all. These two guys in the same place? Definitely will make for a great show.
KeithCharlesSpaceBar (KCSB) came on stage and instantly warmed-up the crowd with D.C.’s own Yung Gleesh’s popular song “Wasabi.” After one song, with the crowd already in a tizzy, the familiar opening of “Look At Wrist” welcomed Father to the stage, setting the tone for the rest of his set. Performing songs from both Young Hot Ebony and Lil D1ddy, Father seemed almost a little surprised that people knew his work so well in the DMV. However, he continued to rock with the crowd, even unveiling new content from his upcoming mixtape Who’s Gonna Get F****d First? which is slated for a release sometime this month. The only thing really lacking from Father’s set was its length. I wish it had gone on longer, as his energy was infectious. However, with more material and a larger fanbase I’m sure this will be the case soon.
After only a brief pause, the man of the hour stepped on stage. Accompanied with a full band (featuring a bassist/keyboardist, drummer and electric guitar player), London approached the microphone with his profile to the crowd. He performed his first few songs this way until turning towards the crowd for almost the remainder of the performance. Playing hits old and new, Theophilus played the majority of his songs from Vibes, and had the crowd dancing non-stop. The swagger and cool moves London unleashed brought the energy in the small venue sky high.
His interaction with the audience was great as well. Not only did he bring girls on-stage to dance/sing with him, but he also serenaded one woman and asked questions of the audience. Simple questions such as “What did you do for Valentine’s Day?” and “What song do you wanna hear next?” were requests of the crowd I honestly have never heard before. And upon passing the mic to lucky unlookers, he responded right back. He even brought beers out for people in the crowd! If that’s not a cool way to start a party, I don’t know what is.
His ease with the crowd translated into the fluidity with which the concert seemed to flow. Instead of a stringent set list, it seemed like Theophilus was working with his band to feel the crowd and what they were into. A couple of times, he stopped the band/his laptop from playing a song to respond with another he felt to be more appropriate. They also did a good job of keeping the energy high as he would continue playing the same notes/stanzas of his songs that the audience seemed to be feeling most. The energy level hit the roof of the venue in a basemenet as he called Father back onto the stage to perform “Look At Wrist” once again. Inviting girls and both artists’ seemingly never-ending posse’s on-stage, he started a whole other party, employing people to follow him to nearby club Tropicalia.
Overall, I thought the contrast of Father and Theophilus was a good one. Although both are known to be unconventional, their styles differ to a point where they complimented one another. Father’s hard beats and biting lyrics were a good introduction for London’s musicality and romantic content as their energies meshed well and created a great show.
Be sure to look out for my interview with Theophilus London, which will be out soon here on the WRGW Music Blog.