Like clockwork, Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko have continued their steady touring, going all around the world to reach their fans, and have maintained their recent streak of doing a Canadian tour every two years. After kicking off 2019 with a tour through Europe, they’ve continued on to Canada, performing in a different city every night for 20 nights straight. As with their 2017 Strange Reign Tour and the 2015 Special Effects Tour before that, their stop in Toronto would be at The Phoenix Concert Theatre, and just like the last tour, they’d be returning to Toronto on a Sunday night.
Much like the way he tours, Tech N9ne also has a consistent output of new music to keep things fresh. Since the last time he was here, he released his 20th studio album, 2018’s Planet, and just a few days ago released the second installment to his N9NA collection, a series of EPs leading up to the release of his next album under that title. With no signs of slowing down, there’s no shortage of new songs to see performed live on any given Tech N9ne tour.
As many Hip-Hop heads know, “the greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th,” and on this March 10th evening we were still honouring the 22nd anniversary of the death of The Notorious B.I.G., with DJ Chino playing the more rugged classics by the late legend. We showed up a couple hours after doors had opened, and there were still some opening performers left to hit the stage after Chino got us in a Biggie vibe. Host Stacee Brizzle would toss a large balloon into the crowd and bring out her Reel Wolf squad to perform, including emcees Resin, Swann, Seen B, Veeko, and Mersinary.
We’ve seen Reel Wolf perform plenty of times, but this time they had new material to perform with their album Blood Moon set to drop in a few days. They pumped some energy into the crowd with new joints off the album like “Warfare” and “Blood Cypher,” and even the unreleased “Howl,” which features a rapid-fire verse from Stacee herself. They had the crowd hyped with the usual hardcore energy they’re known for, and with some free CDs and t-shirts being thrown into the crowd.
After Reel Wolf’s set, co-host JDon of Raw Dog Ent. would toss out some more freebies and perform a couple of his own songs before bringing out Raw Dog artist Ruby Red. We’ve also seen Ruby Red perform a few times, but for this one he really stepped up the showmanship in his performance. Not only did the up-tempo beats and flows get the crowd hyped, but he kept the energy up by consistently throwing out freebies to the loudest fans throughout his set, eventually setting off some confetti launchers near the end of it. JDon & Ruby Red pumped up the energy in the room, and the crowd was all set for a hype Tech N9ne performance.
Surprisingly, there were no touring openers to perform after the Toronto local artists, and so Tech came out early, starting the show with his 2011 single “Am I a Psycho?.” The crowd caught on immediately and sang along with Tech, the energy building up to the B.O.B. chorus. Shortly after Tech N9ne followed up with his “Stamina” salute, Krizz Kaliko joined him on stage, both of them wearing Strange Music football jerseys. Kaliko came out rocking his verse from “Strange Music Box,” and him & Tech continued on into the 2006 throwback, “Riot Maker,” at this point sticking to all familiar songs and routines they’ve performed in recent years. The fans were loving it, getting hyped with every song Tech performed.
For the fans who’ve seen Tech N9ne on his previous Canadian tours in recent years, he switched things up and performed some throwbacks he hadn’t included in his setlists in a long time, taking it back to 2001 with “It’s Alive,” and then to 2009’s “Sickology 101” (a personal favourite). He also performed “Fresh Out!” off of the new Planet album, getting a mosh pit going in the center of the crowd, before returning to some more familiar routines. Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko had the crowd completely with them as they performed some familiar songs they do on most of their tours, getting the crowd to mosh to “E.B.A.H.” and “Einstein,” and sing along to “Dysfunctional” and “Straight Out The Gate.” Tech then brought another rare track out of the vault, giving a high energy performance of 2012’s “URALYA” before leaving the stage for Krizz Kaliko to take over.
Much like previous concerts, Krizz had a short solo bit performing his own songs, starting with the familiar but always hype “Anxiety” and “Spaz,” with Tech returning for his verse on the latter track. They then performed another new song off of Planet, “No Reason,” with Krizz Kaliko spitting a verse that didn’t make it onto the album version of the song. Tech then left the stage for Krizz again, who took a seat to perform the throwback “Unstable” before cranking the energy up again for “Kill Shit.” The crowd stayed energized throughout, waving their arms and singing along with Kaliko’s vocals.
Tech N9ne returned for his guest verse on the last Kaliko song, and together they got back into Tech’s discography, cranking up the energy as they performed “Welcome To The Midwest,” and “Worldwide Choppers” with perfect choreography. They next performed “Speedom (WWC2)” in the same routine from their acclaimed appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert YouTube series, getting the crowd to clap their hands as they each slayed their verses, and sing along to Kaliko’s extra vocals inspired by the late Richie Havens. After the raw display of impeccable breath control, flow, and choreography, Tech & Krizz took a bit of a break to talk to the crowd and mellow out.
Krizz Kaliko left the stage for Tech N9ne to have a solo bit, and it would be Tech’s turn to take a seat. The room got loud after Tech asked how many fans were seeing him in concert for the first time, and he got them all to light up their lighters and cell phones as he pulled another rare track out of his discography that he hadn’t performed in years, another one off of his 2001 album Anghellic. Tech performed the classic “This Ring,” doing the entire song from a chair in the middle of the stage. He’d continue to talk to the crowd and tell stories, mentioning that they were celebrating Krizz Kaliko’s birthday from earlier in the week. Kali then came back and did a quick medley of his hooks, singing them soulfully with joy. They cracked some jokes about R. Kelly’s recent legal situation, Krizz referring to himself as “R. Kali” as he did a quick cover of one of the RnB singer’s throwbacks.
Next, Tech & Krizz would get into party mode, performing more upbeat songs like the platinum-certified “Caribou Lou” and “Erbody But Me,” which recently surpassed 30 million views on YouTube. The party tracks got the crowd dancing, with fans throwing shirts, bras, and even a Chucky doll on stage – Tech said the bra was proof he did a good job performing. They then teased some of their hooks accapella to see if the crowd knew the words to sing along, Tech & Krizz going back and forth singing “Imma Tell,” “Fragile,” and “Red Nose.”
Having been on stage for about an hour and a half, they settled on one last party track, “Hood Go Crazy,” getting the crowd to dance one last time before they ended the show. Humbled by all the love, Tech N9ne took the time to clap hands with every fan in the front row, and him and Krizz Kaliko then hit the merch booth to take photos and sign autographs.
As with all of their concerts, Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko put on a wicked show. The chemistry they have on stage is second to none, as their vocal timing and choreography is executed to perfection. Krizz Kaliko mentioned that as of 2019 he’ll have been doing this for 20 years with Tech N9ne, and the experience shows when they perform. All these years later, and they’re still able to fill venues with fans seeing them live for the first time, and are able to rock their classics effortlessly. This show was also special because of the way Tech N9ne was able to dig through his lengthy discography and pull out some old, obscure throwbacks, and perform them like they were brand new. With the way they’re always able to switch up their setlists, seeing Tech & Krizz in concert will never get old.
The Canadian tour continues through March as they head towards the west coast; USA will be next!
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