Within a week of being exactly one year since his last show in Toronto, Tech N9ne has returned on yet another tour. This would be my third consecutive year catching him live, as Tech N9ne has consistently released new music to allow him to constantly alter his set lists every time he tours. Tech seems to work like a machine, in recent years having at least one new album each year to release, and always having a hectic tour schedule so he can reach as many fans in person as possible. Since last year, Tech N9ne released his fifteenth album in May of 2015, Special Effects, and is already gearing up to release his sixteenth album in November, a sequel to 2014’s Collaboration album, Strangeulation.
For Toronto, 2013 saw Tech N9ne do two shows at The Rockpile during his Something Else tour. His 2014 tour saw him do two sold-out shows, one at each of The Rockpile’s West & East locations at the time. For 2015, rather than selling out two shows at the smaller venues, Tech N9ne has upgraded to the larger Phoenix Concert Theatre for one big show. The Rockpile’s presence would still be felt though, as the show would be hosted by Stacee Brizzle & DJ Auzzie Skratch, and would have plenty of familiar local artists including Marmel ENT, Robbie G & Molly Gruesome.
This would be my fourth time in 2015 at The Phoenix Concert Theatre, as I had previously seen Logic, Raekwon and Earl Sweatshirt all perform here earlier in the year. Thankfully this was a 19+ event, which meant that alcohol could be consumed anywhere in the club, as opposed to being barricaded off in the back for the Phoenix’s all-ages shows. When I got to the venue, the parking lot across the street was already filled to capacity less than an hour after the doors had opened. By the time I got inside, RYIT Squad was already on stage, and they were gone by the time I got a drink.
There were several opening acts before we got to see Tech N9ne. Smooth was the first artist to take the stage after I arrived, and he hit the crowd with some rapid-fire raps. He sounded dope, but the lyrics were hard to pick up for first-time listeners. A couple of 19-year-old MCs came on next, as a group called Reject Visions. Their name is in reference to the male MC in the group being legally blind (i.e. having no vision), which gave the crowd more incentive to make noise. They showed a lot of versatility, rocking the crowd with a track called “Turn Up” and closing their set with a more emotional, introspective track. They were followed by Tall Ship Klik, a group that had a couple short guys around my height introduce the two MCs who had to be at least seven feet tall.
After the tall guys rocked the house with some traditional Hip-Hop (I remember they had a dope lyric like “I sold my Macklemore CD at the Thrift Shop”), some familiar faces took the stage. Calgary’s own Johnny Mega returned for his third ever performance in Ontario, and I had last seen him perform at The Rockpile as an opener for ¡Mayday! back in July. He had a guest MC with him dressed in a Venom costume, and they rocked some club tracks together. Next, Marmel Entertainment made a return, as I had not seen them perform in over a year. The whole crew took the stage and they had some head-nodders. There were a couple more openers I wasn’t familiar with before Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko eventually took the stage.
Tech N9ne usually gets his rightful praise these days, but the duo of him and Krizz Kaliko often goes underrated. Krizz may seem to be just a hypeman at first, but he often provides key vocals to songs and even controls the stage at certain times. The Strange Music duo came out to “E.B.A.H.” before getting into Krizz’ single off his Kickin’ & Screamin’ album, “Spaz,” with Tech rocking his face paint in a new design and Krizz rocking a glasses and hat combo. They then got into several of Tech’s solo hits, including “Straight Out The Gate,” “Einstein,” and “Am I A Psycho?”.
They continued with a medley of Tech N9ne hits, keeping the energy levels high and their choreography on point. They performed their verses from 2009’s “Dysfunctional” before getting into a familiar routine with “Midwest Choppers” and “Worldwide Choppers.” I was waiting to see how they would incorporate the new song “Speedom (WWC2),” but it was never included. Instead, they moved right into “So Dope (They Wanna),” inviting a cute female fan on stage to dance with Tech N9ne as he rapped his verse. Krizz Kaliko followed up with an extra verse to the song before they got into the Special Effects single, “Aw Yeah (InterVENTion),” with the female fan helping Tech spit some of the deep lyrics.
Next they got into some of Krizz Kaliko’s songs, including “Kali Baby,” before Tech N9ne paused to talk about how he’s planning on selling bottled versions of his Caribou Lou drink. This of course led into the song “Caribou Lou” to loosen up the ladies, before they performed Krizz Kaliko’s “Titties” and Tech N9ne’s “Areola,” getting several young women in the crowd to take their tops off (this routine never gets old 😉 ). Tech then performed a couple more 2015 songs with “Hood Go Crazy” and “No K” before doing a throwback with “I’m A Playa.” They then closed out the show with a final salute to the crowd, a performance of “Stamina.”
Although it seemed to be a short show in terms of how long the headliners were on stage, Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko’s performance definitely satisfied the fans, and Krizz even stayed behind to sign autographs at the merch booth afterwards. Both of them gave a great performance filled with theatricality, dope choreography, and of course MCing skills, but I would have liked to see some more songs off the newer albums get performed. They only performed three songs off of Special Effects, skipping out on some favourites like “Speedom” and “On The Bible,” and also completely left out the previous album, Strangeulation.
Overall, it was still a fun show. It seems every time Tech N9ne is in town, some of the most diverse, unique local artists get booked to be openers, which makes for a dope show before the headliner even gets on stage. It was good seeing familiar faces take the stage, bad missing other familiar faces due to my lateness, and great seeing the talented new faces open too. Tech N9ne rocked the Phoenix Concert Theatre just as good as any other venue I’ve seen him in, and the synergy he shares with Krizz Kaliko on stage is second to none. They’re just getting started on the Special Effects Canadian Tour, and they always give fans their money’s worth when they perform; I would definitely recommend catching them if they come to your city.
Remember to check out the SYpherSights Youtube channel for more concert videos.