Lil Uzi Vert Delivers a Spectacular Set to Fans at Logan Campbell Centre

New Zealand hip-hop fans have been blessed with a blizzard of rappers playing down under over the last few months. Philadelphia’s Lil Uzi Vert is the latest to grace our shores, delivering a non-stop fireball of a show to a very, very enthusiastic crowd at the Logan Campbell Centre last night. He didn’t just defy gravity, it seems he’s never even heard of it.

Although perhaps not on the same level name-wise as Kendrick Lamar or Drake, make no mistake, Lil Uzi Vert is one of the most exciting up and coming rappers from the very popular trap scene, a scene that gave birth to Migos, Future and Young Thug. The twenty-three-year-old cites the likes of Marilyn Manson as an influence and his style has been compared to glam rock and even called emo rap. This differentiates him from the rest of the trap scene, a scene which at times can be a bit same-y, leaving it up to the likes of Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert to spice things up.

Local producer IllBaz kicked off proceedings getting the crowd warmed up with a DJ set that was packed with rap and trap hits. The crowd of mostly twenty-somethings was fizzing, singing along in full voice and creating moshes. The intensity was something else, remembering that this was only the opening act. What would the crowd be like for the main event?

After a short break, Lil Uzi came on stage in a green beany and red football shirt. Flanked by his own security guards on either side of the stage and a groupie, Uzi was a bundle of energy, bouncing and bounding across the stage like a man possessed. His enthusiasm, stage presence, and growling vocals reminded me a lot of John Lydon, a comparison that was probably fitting given the energy he put into his performance, energy the crowd reciprocated.

I have been to a few hip-hop gigs and I don’t think I have ever seen such an enthusiastic and wild crowd as the one at Logan Campbell last night. They knew every word of every song, sung along with the same intensity to every song, and the crowd surfing and moshing was some of the most ferocious I have ever seen. There was a point in proceedings where people were falling on one another, and moshing with such fury and force one could be forgiven for thinking this was a punk rock gig.

But that’s partly the point. To many, rap is the new rock and roll, and kids from all backgrounds turn out in their droves to see people like Lil Uzi Vert, which is why big-name rappers keep coming down here. There is a massive appetite for hip hop and the evidence was there in the response from the crowd to Lil Uzi’s performance. For historical comparison – think of how people responded to Elvis or the Beatles when they broke on to the scene all those years ago.

Lil Uzi might not be the best rapper in terms of flow or lyrical genius, compared to say Andre 3000, 2Pac, or Kendrick Lamar, but boy does he make up for it in his performance, putting everything into his show and delivering spectacularly.

Lil Uzi was entertaining, the crowd was entertaining while being entertained, and this reviewer’s attention was kept for the whole set. Mission accomplished I’d say.

Sam Smith

Click on any photo below to view a gallery shot by Veronica McLaughlin