I know I’m a little late with this one, but let’s take a look at the top 10 shows I went to last year. I wrote a few concert reviews for some of them, but I missed a lot because I only had the idea to start this blog during the final quarter of the year.
*All shows were in Toronto unless otherwise noted*
Honourable Mentions (in chronological order):
Method Man at The Sound Academy
Raekwon at The Sound Academy
DJ Kid Koala, Serena Ryder & K-Os at The Luminato Festival at David Pecaut Square
Ludacris, Joey Bada$$ & more at NXNE Festival at Dundas Square
Talib Kweli, Rich Kidd, Scratch & more at The Unity Festival at Dundas Square
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis + Shad at Echo Beach
Tyler, The Creator at The Sound Academy
Joell Ortiz at Krazy Cactus in Mississauga, ON
Shad’s album release event at Sonic Boom
J. Cole & Wale at Massey Hall
10. Apathy & Celph Titled at Nocturne Nightclub
If you’re a fan of Army of the Pharaohs, Demigodz, and/or Apathy or Celph Titled as solo artists, this was a great show to be at. It was a long night filled with local opening acts, a few that came from Vancouver and Calgary, and just good vibes before Ap & Celph even got on stage. I got some free CDs from Transit, Indelible and Marmel ENT by being in the front row, and I got to meet both Apathy & Celph Titled after the show! The venue was so small that it felt like we were all just one big crew hanging out and listening to our favourite rap songs by this group. This show also gets bonus points for being part of my birthday celebration last year.
9. Souls of Mischief, Jhene Aiko, Shad, Jully Black, Eternia & more at The Manifesto Festival at Dundas Square
Read my in-depth concert review here.
8. Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko at The Rockpile
When I saw Tech N9ne perform at the 2009 Rock The Bells Festival, I didn’t know who he was, so this was my first time seeing him as a fan. This was day 1 of the Canadian stretch of his Something Else tour, so it was cool seeing him perform his new singles along with older classics I’ve come to appreciate over the years. It was also cool seeing some of the same local opening acts I had seen at other shows, and meeting some of them. Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko’s stage presence together is incredible; they had the crowd hyped with the mosh pit in full effect, and I’d say Tech lived up to his reputation as one of hip-hop’s best showmen.
7. R.A. The Rugged Man at The Casbah in Hamilton, ON
The man who had the best album of the year put on a great, intimate show at this small venue. The small bar setting allowed me to make some new friends before the show got started, and I was even able to get on the open-mic before the opening acts hit the stage (my first time on stage in years)! Rugged Man ran through some classic tracks as well as a bunch of new ones off the new album, and even when there were equipment malfunctions, he still kept the show rolling by cracking jokes and telling stories. I got to meet him after the show and he was humble signing autographs, as long as people paid for their merch.
6. Deltron 3030 at The Phoenix Concert Theatre
Read my in-depth concert review here.
5. Wu-Block (Ghostface Killah & Sheek Louch) at The Sound Academy
I won a contest and was able to go to this show for free, and I even ended up meeting Sheek and Ghostface after the show! I had seen Ghostface perform on multiple occasions before, but this one was slightly different as he had new Wu-Block material to perform with Sheek, and they both took turns performing their respective solo and group songs (Wu-Tang and The LOX). This might’ve been one of the first times Ghostface performed his verse from “New God Flow” by G.O.O.D. Music. Other highlights from this show include at least 10-20 female fans dancing on stage during “Cherchez La Ghost” and a couple male fans performing “Protect Ya Neck” with Ghostface (the black one got boo’d off stage for messing up Method Man’s lyrics, and the white one got cheers for rocking ODB’s verse complete with the N-word).
4. Method Man & Redman at The Sound Academy
This and another concert higher up on the list are probably the only reasons why Method Man’s solo show is in the honourable mentions; I didn’t want to over-saturate this thing with the same act. Method Man did a show in Toronto in January last year, then came back in June with Redman and tore the house down! Every hip-hop fan should know that Method Man is regarded as one of the best showmen to ever perform, and his synergy with Redman brings the energy out of a crowd tenfold. This is the show where I lost my glasses because they got knocked off my face while people were catching Redman during his stage-dive, and they most likely got stomped on. It was all good though, Red and Mef put on one of the most fun hip-hop shows you can go to, and it should definitely be on every hip-hop fan’s bucket list to see them.
3. Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) at The Hoxton
I did say in my Top 30 Albums Countdown that this duo dominated the summer with the hottest album and the coolest tour. They had cool opening acts in Kool A.D. and Despot, but then Killer Mike and El-P also became their own opening acts by each doing a solo set before coming back out to perform together. This was my 3rd time seeing Mike perform, and his set was slightly different as he swapped out “Never Scared” for “Thom Pettie” in his setlist and also did more songs off R.A.P. Music (most notably including “Butane” featuring El-P). It was my first time seeing El-P and his solo set was awesome, as he did most of my favourite songs off I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead and Cancer 4 Cure. When they came back out to perform damn near their entire Run The Jewels album, the crowd got really hyped. I’d imagine this being a poor venue if you were stuck in the back, but luckily I got there early and had a good spot up front, and I also got to meet El-P after the show!
2. Wu-Tang Clan at The Kool Haus
Another item that should be on your bucket list that also had historical value. Check out my in-depth concert review here.
1. The Yeezus Tour (Kanye West & Kendrick Lamar) at The Air Canada Centre
The show that ended the year off gets the #1 spot because it was more of a spectacle to watch than a typical rap concert. Check out my in-depth concert review here.
Remember to check out videos I’ve taken from most of these concerts and more on the SYpherSights Youtube channel! http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjiIhS7fd3t1ZutK1va7w8g/videos