On this day in 2011, Abel Tesfaye performs live as The Weeknd for the first time, having gained a cult following online over the previous few months.

In late 2010, 20-year-old Canadian musician Abel Tesfaye uploaded a handful of his original songs to YouTube using the name The Weeknd. An unknown at the time, his profile quickly grew following the release of his first mixtape, House Of Balloons, in March of 2011.

Receiving almost universal acclaim and gaining an enormous online following, the mixtape would eventually become of the biggest releases of the year, but it also propels The Weeknd into the mainstream at the same time, all before having hit the live stage.

Then, on July 24th, Abel Tesfaye walks into The Mod Club in Toronto, Canada to perform his debut show to rapturous applause from an eager crowd. Kicking things off with his track ‘High For This’, he’s visibly nervous, yet manages to blow everyone away with his sound.

Fellow Canadian rapper Drake is also in the audience, and approaches Tesfaye later to suggest the pair work together. When Drake’s second album, Take Care, is released in November, The Weeknd is credited on a total of five tracks, both as a writer and featured artist.

Check out The Weeknd’s debut live performance:

YouTube VideoPlay

The Weeknd @ Mod Club, Toronto, Canada 24/07/2011 Setlist

‘High For This’
‘The Morning’
‘Coming Down’
‘What You Need’
‘The Party & The After Party’
‘House Of Balloons/Glass Table Girls’
‘The Video’
‘Rolling Stone’
‘Wicked Games’
‘Loft Music’
‘The Knowing’


‘The Birds, Part 1’

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