Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa Light Up Camden
Words & Phots by Mauger
Think just because Mac Miller can co-headline a bill that sells out a 25,000 person arena means that he’s got it easy? Think again. Friday night, Malcolm McCormick, aka Mac Miller, stopped by the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden alongside Wiz Khalifa and the rest of the Under the Influence of Music tour gang. Miller battled early downpours, faulty equipment, and a hostile crowd, but all he suffered was a broken hand (the cause of which we are still unsure of).
Of course, there was nothing he could do about the weather (we think, anyway), and the excessive heat and excessive alcohol consumption were surely the cause of the hostile crowd, but by the time Miller hit the stage, the fans had settled in, and were more than ready to party like it was on 5th Ave.
In spite of all of the setbacks, Mac came out on top, wowing the sell out SBC with a set that had the crowd jumping, dancing, singing, and even holding up lighters.
As one of the biggest names in independent hip hop right now, Miller has a bit more to work with as far as production resources, and it certainly showed Friday night, as he started the show by putting on the big screen a home video of himself as a child, rapping all the words to “Rapper’s Delight.” The crowd was with him immediately, and erupted when he opened with the title track of his mixtape “Best Day Ever,” an appropriate opener as I’m sure that was exactly how many in the audience felt.
As the introduction to “Knock Knock” started playing, the screaming got louder as Mac declared his love of his hometown of Pittsburgh, but his appreciation for the Philadelphia Flyers, whose fans began to use the song as the team’s unofficial goal/win song after HBO’s “24/7″ series featured the Flyers players listening to the song in the locker room after wins.
Unfortunately, in what at first appeared to be a scripted gimmick, the energy was too much to handle, and just as the bass dropped for the chorus of “Knock Knock,” the power went out of the audio system. Miller entertained the crowd for a few minutes as they fixed the problem. But the fix was temporary, and it happened again. After a Mac Miller freestyle, the (somewhat) patient audience was told it would be 20 minutes before it was completely fixed so Mac went back stage to wait it out. The problem, reportedly a result of Mac’s own equipment, just goes to show that no matter how big he gets, Mac Miller is still an independent artist, and sometimes doing it yourself can be problematic. He took it in stride though, and the crowd was more than happy to start Miller’s set over, and from there, it went on without a hitch. Expectedly so, much of the set list was from his first studio album, Blue Slide Park, but mixed in were internet hits from his plethora of mixtapes. Highlights included, of course, “Knock Knock,” “Party on 5th Ave.,” “Missed Calls,” which brought out all the lighters in the audience to create a scene from an 80s hair band love ballad performance, and of course his closing the night with “Donald Trump.”
After Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa came on to rock the house, literally, as he was backed not just by a DJ, but by a bass, guitar, and a drum set, just adding to the electricity in the air. Sporting microphone stand decorations reminiscent of Steven Tyler, complete with a fan blowing in his face, Wiz has certainly become quite the showman. The stage, decked out in tapestries normally reserved for college freshmen dorms, combined with his set that contained some of his more psychedelic jams, left the audience with no question that this is the Under the Influence Tour.
Though still in its infancy, the tour is already going full steam ahead, in spite of Mac’s injured hand. If you missed them this time around, don’t miss them again.