Photographs by Daniela Tantalo.
Upon entering the Rebel complex last night following a commute in the wind and snow, a kid, and I use that term loosely as anyone under 25 is a kid next to me, came up and said “Hey Grandpa, you need to dance and get into it. It’s the only way.” I explained I just arrived and would like the feeling in my extremities to return before moving. He refused to leave my side until I danced so I relented, until he took off. But I’m thankful for the encounter as it was a good omen to the evening ahead.
Mac Miller, the Pittsburgh rapper brought his new album, The Divine Feminine to the same building he played almost exactly a year ago. It was the Sound Academy then and was closed for renovations but recently reopened as Rebel. Mac remarked on the great improvement in the venue, and the ceiling does look great, during a brief pause during a mostly frantic set.
Opening with “Cinderella” off the Divine Feminine, Miller, his DJ and hype man (there may have been more – I was a shrub among a forest of trees) led the sold out crowd through 75 minutes of where his head is at presently.
Since his last visit, promoting Good A:M, Miller fell in love and released The Divine Feminine, an album that exudes his happy place. This also seems to have rubbed off on the crowd as well as I noticed an uncommon amount of couples, and frisky ones at that.
Performing in front of the very welcome screen projecting a partly cloudy sky, Miller worked the stage tirelessly while lights bathed into the very into-it crowd.
For a frosty Thursday night, I was impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the youthful audience and it was hard not to when getting blasted with bass and beats. But Miller had the crowd in his hand and hands did just as they were told. He was also very humble and appreciative with his banter and seemed to be at ease with working the more introspective tracks off the newest album into the set.
The focus of the set was on the Divine Feminine and Good A:M, with the aforementioned “Cinderella” and “Dang!” being the highlight but it was when Miller dipped way back that the crowd really erupted and threatened to implode, rapping right along with him all night.
The crowd was treated to warm up sets from Brooklyn’s The Whooligan and Virginia’s Lakim. Lakim was just closing out his set and accompanied the interaction with my grandson so I’m thankful to Lakim for supplying some beats my hips could get into. The Whooligan got the dancefloor heated with snippets of hip hop classics, new and old, that had the packed crowd amped up for the main event.