Blackbear sighting at WSU


ABBY LINNENKOHL | The Daily Evergreen

Blackbear, Matthew Musto, performs to a sold out crowd in the CUB Senior Ballroom on Thursday. The hip-hop artist sang his hit song “Do Re Mi,” along with others from his album “Digital Druglord.” Fluencie and Daym, a DJ and singer duo, opened for Blackbear.

BLAINE ROSS, Evergreen columnist

The CUB Senior Ballroom surely isn’t “suite 23 at the chateau” Blackbear sings about on his album “Digital Druglord” but it still did the trick, resulting in a handful of expulsions, police escorts out of the venue, and even the classic bra on stage.

Blackbear’s portion of the concert last week was a throwback to the days of rock ’n’ roll attitude and stardom of the 1970s and is a testament to the fact that rappers are the rock stars of the millennial generation.

As I sat in the small backstage section with a group of other privileged guests, and a gaggle of middle school girls, I was able to experience the ecstasy that was Blackbear’s performance.

ABBY LINNENKOHL | The Daily Evergreen
The fans vibe with the musicians, reveling in Blackbear’s performance Thursday.

The show started late, and the crowd was denied the opener that was initially on the roster, because he had a vocal sprain. However, the replacement opener wasn’t unbearable: A combo of the DJ Fluencie and a singer by the name of Daym.

They were also accompanied by a female singer named Natalia Eleni, who showed potential to one day be one of the next Billboard Hot 100 artists, because of her sultry voice and inherently marketable image. The trio had mixed reactions at last week’s concert, with some people praising them, and others critiquing their musical timekeeping abilities, bass drops and singing.

Before the Blackbear concert, I had never heard of Fluencie or Daym, being as they’re smaller Seattle artists. I actually ran into them by chance when looking for my way into the show, when I asked them directions. These artists performed in place of Smino, who experienced a vocal strain.

The duo have only been performing together for about a month, but both have music on Spotify and SoundCloud. Natalia also has music on SoundCloud. While I talked with them before the show, Fluencie said to Daym, “I’m actually okay at drums, but you wouldn’t know that.” This goes to show how little the two have played with each other, and hopefully over time, as they learn each other’s habits in music, they’ll improve exponentially and become headliners on their own.

The two weren’t super star-struck over opening for a big name like Blackbear. Daym said that “it feels like it’s not about us, it’s about the audience. We’re all here to have a good time.”

Shortly after Fluencie, Daym, and Natalia left the stage, Blackbear took the stage wearing zippered moto jeans, a hat that shined pink under the stage lights, and a stretched out gray bro tank that showed many of Blackbear’s signature tattoos. He came on the stage drinking Fiji water and was introduced by a recording of his hit song “do, re, mi.”

ABBY LINNENKOHL | The Daily Evergreen
Hidden in the lights, Blackbear serenades the crowd during the SEB-hosted concert Thursday.

After he finished his first song, he looked at his Fiji water bottle and said: “You know, there’s a drought in Fiji but they still bottled this up.” This is actually decent social commentary, because there’s been a drought in Fiji since 2015, but they proceed to bottle up and ship out water from the island.

Toward the end of the concert, Blackbear displayed his showmanship even more boldly, climbing on monitors and even balancing on the fence separating him from the crowd with his arms spread like Jack from “Titanic.” When he was on the fence the crowd was doing everything they could to get to him.  As he reached out into the crowd, his personal bodyguards came over and grasped his jacket and belt so that the crowd couldn’t pull him over the barrier he was standing on.

As soon as Blackbear reached his arm out over the crowd, standing on the barrier high as a god, the crowd worshiped him and clung to his arm until his security finally got him to come down off the barricade and back up onto the stage, a place that acted as a shrine to the holy deity that is him.

The concert was quite the experience, from the ever present security to Blackbear telling his life story and struggle with alcoholism (an ironic story to tell with how many MIPs as well as Drunk & Disorderly tickets could have been given out at that event).

The concert as a whole was mildly adequate, undermined by an opener who had less than a week to prepare a whole set, feedback issues that led to screeching amplifiers, and the electric unease that could be felt in the room for the first half of the show, as people were escorted out of the room by police and physically manhandled over the barrier by Staff Pro.

However, Blackbear completely saved the show by playing some absolute bangers, having both deep and quirky anecdotes, and having an air of showmanship that reminds me of the greats of rock history.

Blaine Ross is a freshman music education major from Montesano. He can be contacted at [email protected].