Live Review: Kid Cudi — Club Nokia, Los Angeles
Wed, 23 Dec 2009 09:10:03
Kid Cudi knows how to make jaws drop.
In fact, after an hour-plus set at Club Nokia in Los Angeles last night, the capacity crowd was left collectively speechless. Witnessing Cudi live is like seeing Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G. or Eminem in the early days. He doesn't need to do much to impress; rather he's awe-inspiring when he's being himself and letting it all hang out.
Cudi possesses an un-extinguishable fire that makes him simply kinetic on stage. From the first bar's of his Blueprint 3 joint "Already Home," he never stopped moving. As he crooned out the song's chorus with an overpowering intonation, the audience chanted along at each and every word. Cudi doesn't post up in one spot of the stage—he bounces around, flailing, screaming and baring his soul with each rhyme and hook.
A crunchy guitar lead fueled "Down & Out," as Cudi's delivery turned gruff. He fired off the song's rhymes with a palpable passion that hit just as hard as the riff cackling below the song's beats. "Soundtrack 2 My Life" felt just as painfully poignant live as it does on Man On the Moon: The End of Day. Cudi twisted around with a Jonathan Davis-style stage catharsis as the audience carried the chorus to the heavens and back for him.
"Simple As…" spun out with a '60s psychedelica vibe that fit the Cleveland MC perfectly. He's like some kind of modern Jimi Hendrix, but instead of weaving intergalactic street poetry with guitar chords, Cudi does it with his vocal cords. "Up, Up, and Away" showed just how well Cudi can sing, as he flawlessly belted out the song's hypnotic chorus and then went back to his trademark rapping seamlessly. The man on the moon is mind-bending to say the least, especially screaming out the last lines of "Heart of a Lion" a cappella, that's right a cappella…no auto-tune here.
The room went straight up ape shit when Kanye West hit the stage for "Make Her Say" though. Mr. West has been laying low recently. In a studded black leather jacket, black shirt and combat boots, he resembled some kind of futurisitic hip hop hero of the apocalypse. Think The Road Warrior goes rap. West's presence was powerful as he ripped through his verse on "Make Her Say" with a new vigor that balanced with Cudi perfectly. "The Good Life" sounded even better, as Kanye cut through the beat and every fan bounced.
Neither Cudi nor Kanye had to say much. However, before debuting a new song, Kanye announced, "It's my first time back in America for the past three or four months. I had to get up out this motherfucker for a second. I love the game so much and I'm so passionate about it that I just can't take this shit sometimes."
That passion was in tact during his new freestyle as he declared, "I sold my soul to the devil. I know it's crappy deal, at least it came with a few toys like a happy meal."
Smiles abounded as West ripped up the stage with his new rhymes and promised to hit the studio January 1st, 2010. However one thing that Kanye said truly resonated. "If they take everything away from me, it won't matter. Artists be too afraid."
Thankfully Kanye and Cudi are both fearlessly still elevating the game to the next level. As "Day N Nite" took the crowd back to outer space, one thing was clear, the future has arrived, and it is Kid Cudi. Don't be afraid.
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