Over the past year, House of Vans had unsigned musicians compete to perform as the opening act during Schoolboy Q performances across the world including Chicago, IL, Guangzhou, China and London, U.K.. This show was the culmination of the Share the Stage endeavor, with Black Dave securing his spot in Chicago. This show was poised to be a great evening and unsurprisingly resulted in being one of the most fun in House of Vans recent history.
Black Dave gave the crowd a surprisingly short set, which actually left the hype audience wanting more. There wasn’t a dull or quiet moment during his time. He took advantage of the opportunity to perform to a full House of Vans, busting out some great tracks. His energy was in full force, jumping to the edge of the gates to rap into the crowd. It was exactly the type of performance you’d want to see from an up and coming artist.
When it came time for Schoolboy Q to come to the stage, there wasn’t a lengthy DJ set that would bore the crowd. It could have been due to the pretty tight curfew, but ultimately it didn’t matter because the result was near perfect. We were met with a short and hype introduction that warmed the crowd up just the right amount before Schoolboy Q dashed out to the stage. The vibe turned deep and low for a moment as the menacing opening of “That Part” leaked out, causing the crowd to explode in joy.
Schoolboy Q’s stage presence is so damn fun, infecting everyone in the crowd with his energy. The man couldn’t help run all over the stage and dancing in step to his performance. At one point he was rapping into a fans’ cellphone as they recorded the show, upping his performance even more. He gave credit for this heightened performance to his new body, bouncing along with the raving fans as they moshed through some of the biggest songs in his arsenal. “Dope Dealer”, “Man of the Year”, and so many more were being shot out so intensely, making it impossible to groove along to them.
The set list was left completely to the crowd, something that made the atmosphere of the whole show feel more like a party than a typical concert. Schoolboy Q would ask the crowd what they wanted to hear and would most of the time obliged the majority screams, a few times having to note that he didn’t remember the words to some of the tracks being called for. Moments like that and when he would jokingly berate his DJ when the wrong requested song played enhanced the intimate feeling that washed over the night.
A few time in the set Schoolboy Q made mention of Mac Miller, explaining the lack of new songs in his set due to his current mental state over his friend’s death. He spoke sincerely throughout these moments. “Blessed”, a song that deals with the loss of someone far too soon, was requested time and time again, but Schoolboy Q made it clear he couldn’t perform that right now. There were no hard feelings though, it was perfectly understandable and as he proceeded to keep everyone’s spirits high with an incredible set.
House of Vans continues to put on some of the best shows on Chicago. Their inventive lineups coupled with an ever-changing and interesting space makes it easily one of the best venues in the city. Check them out and keep an eye out for any more surprises they may have up their sleeves.
All Photos by Julian Ramirez