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Concert Review: Travi$ Scott on Hot 97′s Who’s Next Live at SOBs

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Travi$ Scott returned to SOBs in New York City to perform on Hot 97′s Who’s Next Live Concert series.

The last time Scott performed at SOBs was for the Leaders of the New Cool CMJ Showcase (October 18, 2012). The doors for that show opened at 10:30, and by the time Scott got on stage, it was 1:30 in the morning. Needless to say, most of the crowd had long since departed.

This go-around, Scott got on stage by 11:15, and he immediately opened with ‘Quintana,’ one of his biggest hits to date. It was a curious decision, but one that paid dividends: he had the audience’s attention from the very beginning.

Watching Scott perform is like watching a seance. A light flashes on stage throughout the set, and smoke pours upward as well, mixing with the copious marijuana smoke from the crowd. For fans of traditional hip-hop performances, the theatrics might be unsettling, but there is no denying its mesmerizing quality.

Scott performed songs from ‘Owl Pharoah’ along with some of the biggest songs he has produced thus far in his upstart career. One of the big reactions came when he performed the original version of “Blocka,” sans Pusha T’s verses

Scott managed to entertain the crowd by himself, jumping across the stage with tremendous energy all night, the audience “turning up” with him every step of the way. The Houston native brought out no guests for his entire set, a surprising turn of events considering the fact that the show was played in New York City and that Hot 97′s Who’s Next series tends to bring a lot of big names out. The one notable name on stage the entire set was the legendary Mike Dean, who played keys and even guitar for certain songs.

The energy faded during portions of the performance. Scott’s core fan base might have been swaying along to every song, but not all cuts off ‘Owl Pharoah’ received a stellar response from the entire crowd. Having opened his set with ‘Quintana,’ it was difficult for him to keep interest for the entire set. However, Scott did save the wildest moment of the night for the end.

Closing the show with his new single, ‘Upper Echelon,’ Scott decided to bring some people on stage. No, neither T.I. nor 2 Chainz came out (both are currently on the road for the America’s Most Wanted Tour). Instead, Scott asked the entire first two-three rows of the crowd to join him on stage before jumping into the song. It was a frenzied scene, as the crowd morphed into the stage and looked like a giant free-for-all mob.

While Scott was certainly the main attraction at SOBs last night, the opening acts that Hot 97 selected to perform before him made their marks. The Bronx’s Doley Bernays started things off with a sound compatible with the core audience in attendance. Camden, New Jersey’s Apollo The Great brought a gritty street aesthetic to the show, his traditional sound not fully fitting the vibe of the evening but still managing to keep the crowd engaged.

The standout surprise of the evening, however, came from the group Trips-N-Slim. The Harlem duo had electric stage presence, which got the crowd to support them enthusiastically from the first song. Even host Peter Rosenberg commented on their show-stealing performance as the duo walked off stage. Of course, their mastery of the crowd might be hereditary; their father is Doug E. Fresh.

Ultimately, if this show was any indication, Travi$ Scott has cultivated a fan base one project into his emerging career. The man has a ways to go before reaching his peak, but he has a bright future ahead of him, as bright as the blinding lights he brings on stage with him.

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