Logic is a newer Hip-Hop artist from Maryland, USA, who is on his Under Pressure World Tour to support his major-label debut album of the same name. I have reviewed Under Pressure before, and while it did have its flaws, Logic shows enough upside and potential as an MC to spark my interest. He also has four mixtapes of older material I haven’t had the chance to hear yet (but my homie is a big Logic fan, so I was able to name the songs he performed in this review). While Def Jam doesn’t seem to be making huge marketing investments for his Under Pressure album (radio payola, music videos, etc.), Logic seems to have used their resources effectively, as this show at The Phoenix Concert Theatre would be his first of two sold-out shows in Toronto. His second show would be at Tattoo the next night, the same nightclub where I saw Royce Da 5’9″ & DJ Premier perform just two weeks ago.
The Phoenix Concert Theatre is a fitting venue for Logic to perform in, as I’ve previously seen some of his idols perform here, including Rakim last summer and Deltron 3030 in the fall before that. It’s always been a great venue for Rap shows, and while I’ve never seen Logic perform before, he has enough of a Hip-Hop background to do this venue justice. In fact, when my crew got to the venue, you could already tell it would be special because the parking lot across the street was already filled and the line to get in was stretched down the street.
By the time we found parking and got inside the venue, it was almost time for the opening act: a young, 20-year-old rapper from Boston named Michael Christmas. His entrance was kind of corny, as he came out to the original theme from the Pokémon anime, but things got hype once he started performing his own songs. He was able to get the entire crowd jumping and waving their hands, something you rarely see for an opening act. After a really energetic set from Michael Christmas, DJ Rhetorik came out to spin some Hip-Hop while we waited for Logic.
The layout of the Phoenix was different from usual, as this was an all-ages show and a 19+/alcoholic section had to be separated in the back and upper level of the club. Having never been in the upper level before, it provided a great view of the entire club, and it was interesting to see which songs DJ Rhetorik played that got the biggest reactions from the crowd. Since we were in Toronto, he showed Drake a lot of love, playing songs off the new If You’re Reading This… mixtape, and had a particularly cool “high” segment where he went from Jay-Z’s “U Don’t Know” to Styles P’s “Good Times” to Kanye West’s “Get ‘Em High” and “Dark Fantasy“. A fan rushed the stage during his set, but DJ Rhetorik acted professionally and let security carry the fan off stage, and even adapted his set to the incident by playing “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye“.
Logic came out next, with a full set of choreographed lights giving him that extra stage presence (although blinding to the people on the upper level). He started his set by rocking the first half of “Soul Food” before getting into “I’m Gone”, “Now” and “Alright” off his Under Pressure album. He nailed all his verses, and also adapted one of Redman’s techniques to getting the crowd involved; throughout the show, he’d get the crowd to tell him “f*** you!” by asking them if they were ready to go home. Logic then performed a mixtape track, “The Come Up” and “Metropolis” off of Under Pressure before engaging the crowd again.
Logic liked to talked to the crowd, picking out people to ask their name, age, and where they’re from. He sang “Happy Birthday” for a fan celebrating his 19th, and also was given a Rubik’s Cube by another fan. Logic showed us how he got his name by solving the Rubik’s Cube in a couple minutes before spitting a freestyle verse. After this fun segment, he got back into some Under Pressure tracks, including “Bounce”, my favourite “Buried Alive”, and the second half of “Soul Food”.
With the crazy breath-control needed to perform these verses, Logic took a little break from rapping and let his DJ pump up the crowd by playing some Kid Cudi choruses and an EDM track. Next was a segment made up of mostly mixtape tracks, as Logic performed “On The Low”, and a song over OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson” before dimming the lights for “Gang Related”. Logic talked about his favourite Quentin Tarantino film before moving on to “Ballin”, “Nikki”, and “Dead Presidents III”. I happened to be using the washroom when a fan threw another Rubik’s Cube at Logic during “Dead Presidents III”, and he jokingly included her when he asked the crowd “are you ready to go home?” (remember their trained response).
Logic got to know some more fans by having them introduce themselves again, and then he got back into the music with “Never Enough”. Next, he gave a short, inspiring speech about never making excuses about not doing what you want to do in life, relating to how he used to be another guy in the crowd before he was able to grace a stage. This led into the closing track on the album, “Til The End”, which also closed the set for Logic. The show wasn’t over yet though, as the crowd chanted for him to come back, and he performed an encore with the title track, “Under Pressure”.
Overall, this was a solid show. This was the most packed I have seen the Phoenix, although it was my first time being stuck in the back and on the upper level. You can tell Logic puts a lot of work into his craft, as he’s able to spit his verses in person just as intensely as they sound on the studio recordings. He also has the makings of a true Hip-Hop artist, doing a good job at commanding the crowd, getting them involved, and having everyone turn up while keeping each other safe. It was a packed house, and nearly everyone participated in having a fun time.
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