Yeezus, meet Jesus: Thirty-five dollars for parking, plus my $100 ticket? This was a bad way to start my evening of Kanye West’s Yeezus Tour, which made a stop on October 23, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, but it all went stratospherically up from there.
No space to write about opener Kendrick Lamar, who is a much better studio artist than performer, anyway, so let’s get down to it.
There were all the trappings you may have heard about: outlandish Martin Margiela outfits, including three face-obscuring masks; creepy female dancers; a huge mountain that would be at home on the set of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen opera; and yes, Jesus and Kanye hug it out.
But in the middle of all these trappings (which are all awesome) exists a charismatic performer who’s coming off an incredibly creative and dark album.
Before the concert, I wondered how West would be able to create a mood that would vibe with his Yeezus album and still be able to pull of any of his lighter hits, such as “Through the Wire.” He did so via the sequencing of his set list, as well as through the set’s colors and lighting, which went from inky and disturbing to glittering rainbow (in a nod to Daft Punk while he performed “Stronger”), to all white.
West performed every track off of Yeezus—the highlight of which was the monster beat drop in “Blood on the Leaves,” which features a sample of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit.” He eventually wound the energy down by talking about the death of his mother and singing “Hey Mama” while prone, and then ill-advisedly went into a long-winded sermon about God and love.
Yeezy had been on stage for more than 90 minutes when some people started to leave. Those people are idiots, because he came back with nine more hits (including “Jesus Walks”).
He finally discarded his mask for the last quarter of the show, which rendered the last songs much more personal—it was also great to see West smile at times.
West chose “Bound 2” from Yeezus as the last song of the show—a surprising choice, as it’s the only track on the album that harkens back to his oldie-sampling younger days. It is, however, a very sweet song, and succeeded in ending the show on a positive note.
Well, I wish that would have been the end, anyway.
Instead, Jesus reappeared at the top of the mountain, and West got on his knees to pray. It deflated the energy he had going, but after more than three hours, we were all pretty emotionally spent.
Superexclusive, superfree: When I first heard Life in 24 Frames in 2010, the Sacramento alt-rock six-piece was drawing comparisons to the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate, Built to Spill, Radiohead and Pink Floyd—all fine signifiers of the band’s atmospheric sound.
But each time I received updates from L24F band member Kris Adams, the group’s identity seemed to be in flux—indeed, I was told to expect its sound to change.
Now, having heard portions of the band’s upcoming record Bitter End, I’d consider L24F’s music to be more rustic and pastoral, like Fleet Foxes—yet still holding onto some of the celestial textures that defined its earlier recordings.
Life in 24 Frames has finally completed Bitter End, a record years in the making after recording sessions at The Hangar and the band’s own studio, the Hatch.
To celebrate its completion, L24F is scheduled to hold an exclusive listening party on Friday, December 6, in Davis at a secret location. By exclusive we mean there will only be 100 spots open to the general public to hear the band’s album performed in full for the first time.
Hosted by Imagine Games Network executive editor Greg Miller—the band’s connection to IGN comes via the tech-savvy Adams’ affinity for video games—the listening party will be free and open to all ages, and the guest list will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP email requests to: email@example.com.
Those lucky enough to attend should arrive promptly at 9 p.m. Life in 24 Frames will perform at 9:30 p.m. During the set, it’ll play the record and host an in-between song Q-and-A session with the guest. If the party fills up and you’re left on the outside, KDVS 90.3 FM is scheduled to air the listening party on Saturday, December 7, at 11 p.m. on its Live From Studio A program.