Vince Staples | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com
Vince Staples: The Life Aquatic Tour brings Cali to Philadelphia at Union Transfer
A Cali rapper taking the national scene by storm, Vince Staples brought his Life Aquatic Tour with Kilo Kush to Union Transfer on March 27th, turning a boring Monday night into a lively Saturday night.
Kilo Kish took the stage at 8:30 on the dot to kick the show off by mysteriously sitting down at a table set up for her and reading a newspaper; a red telephone on the table. This all occurred while an instrumental was playing. After the instrumental, she proceeded to make her way to the front of the stage, looking rather frightened, which is when her performance really began.
Kish doesn’t just sing, she has more of an interpretive style performance, integrating music with movement. At one point during her set, she crawled to the edge of the stage and very hesitantly touched the hand of an audience member reaching out to her, quickly retreating back to the middle of the stage. Kish’s body movements, paired with the sound erupting from her guitarist and keyboard player, made for a rather interesting performance that was the perfect contrast to Staples’s nightclub vibe; she left the crowd on their toes when her set ended, which was a great transition into Staples’s set.
The background music playing in between the sets abruptly ended, the lights at Union Transfer were immediately extinguished, and the crowd absolutely lost their shit. Staples swaggered out onto stage to meet a roaring crowd to the opening beat of “Prima Donna,” the hit song and title track off of his 2016 EP. Three screens, forming a semi-circle, surround Staples and flash abstract video clips to each song; a giant goldfish swam around Staples as he’s on stage rapping the hook, “Is it real? Is it? Is it real? Is it real?” And no, Mr. Staples, I didn’t think that giant goldfish was real, but it looked incredible. Going right into “3230” from Summertime ’06, released back in 2015, Staples remained stationary at the microphone, asking, “How you feeling, everybody? Hope you had a nice day,” the opening line of the song.
Staples played eight more songs before going into three back-to-back-to-back covers. Alright, technically these songs are covers, but what all three of these songs have in common is that Staples is featured on every one. First came “Little Bit of This” by GTA, which really got the nightclub vibe pumping in Union Transfer. Next was “Smoke & Retribution” by Flume, followed by Major Lazer‘s “Ghost” — which is when laser beams of light started to shoot into the distance, criss-crossing over the crowd to the beat of each song.
Following these covers, Staples went back into an original, “War Ready”, after 10 seconds of black, another song off of Prima Donna. The rest of Staples’ set could have easily been mistaken for a rave on a Saturday night, with the heavy bass drops and laser beam lights. He ended his main set with “Blue Suede,” re-emerging after the encore break to the giant semi-circle of screens illuminating the crowd with a graphic that said “Greetings from Long Beach.” He went into playing “Norf Norf”, the song with the signature hook “Norfside Long Beach, Norfside Long Beach” repping his hometown, closing the night with “Summertime.” Check out more photos from the show below!
Lift Me Up
Jump Off The Roof
Birds and Bees
Little Bit of This
Smoke & Retribution