Jay-Z has his Maybach, Eazy-E his Impala 64 and Frank Ocean his BMWs.
Yelawolf’s vehicle of choice is the classic American muscle of a Chevy, paying homage to it in both song (‘Box Chevy pt. 1-4’) and with a large patch on the back of his jacket he wore at The Metro.
The powerful, workman-like Chevy proved to be an excellent representation of Yelawolf’s performance on this Tuesday night. Unglamorous, uncompromising. and totally electrifying.
The night opened up with Aussie up and comer All Night, whose song ‘So Good’ you may have heard with some frequency on Triple J recently. His set in front of a fluctuating crowd, which maneuvered to the bar and back, was laid back and inoffensive; a limbering up of-sorts for the assault Yelawolf was preparing.
All Night look and attitude fit the relaxed and roomy feel of his rhymes. The production on his songs is soul influenced favouring traditional-organic instrumentation over the electronic leaning of many modern rap contemporaries.
Yelawolf came out and launched into a high energy set, full of fan favourites and lesser known songs which had the mishmash crowd going mental for the duration of the gig.
His set drew heavily from his Trunk Muzic album, which propelled him out of Alabama and onto greater fame. The live setting proved to give the songs an extra kick. Throwing up the eponymous album closer at the front end of the set, the track’s machine gun beats proved to jolt the crowd out of the mellow vibe All Night had created.
It was also rather unique for the night, with its backbone of an arpeggiated synth chord progression; as a lot of the set was somewhat like a hip hop tribute to classic rock. Although not as well known for it, rappers are certainly not shy of covers in a live setting.
These covers however usually sit in the realms of hip-hop, with artists paying tribute to friends or songs they’ve featured on. Yelawolf on the other hand chose a smattering of classic rock songs including ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ‘Back In Black’ and Nirvana’s timeless ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. His choice of covers showing the DNA of this Alabama raised hip-hop artist.
The frenetic energy of ‘Push Em Up’ with its bluegrass beat was lapped up by the crowd, who loudly shouted back the simple chorus “Jump, jump, jump, jump, push em up”, and gladly obliged with the instruction as well.
The covers, and the songs across his varied discography, such as ‘Push Em Up’ and ‘Hard White (Up In The Club)’ were by no means ill received. But it was evident that the Trunk Muzic album is what brought most of the crowd out that Tuesday night. Album bangers ‘Good To Go’, ‘Pop The Trunk’, ‘Box Chevy’, ‘Billy Crystal’, and in particular ‘Daddy’s Lambo’ drew the most enthusiastic reception from the crowd.
Yelawolf was quite impressive with his work ethic as a performer. The set was low on gimmicks or contrived moments on a stripped down stage featuring only himself and his DJ (who is also worth mentioning).
His stamina was noteworthy given his ability to spit his incredibly fast, percussive rhymes whilst constantly moving from one side of the stage to the other for the duration of the set.