Gig Review: A$AP Ferg | 170 Russell | Melb | 23.9.16

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Trap Lord has once again returned to Australia for this year's Listen Out festival. He was last here for Groovin The Moo; though GTM is a solid festival, it doesn't gather hip hop fans like Listen Out does. 

He opened the show with 'Let It Go' from his debut album. The energy inside the intimate 170 Russell was electric from the moment he hit the stage. If I can recall, he opened with this song when he played last year. I mean, I don't blame him for opening up with something from his debut album, you don't get any more hard hitting than 'Let It Go'.

One thing I've observed from watching him perform a few times over the last few years is how quick his set flys through. I know it's because many of songs contain features, and he shouldn't be expected to rap other rapper's verses, but I wish some of the songs would play out instead of hastily moving on until the next song without letting the crowd to fully enjoy each song. No, it wasn't enough to ruin the night, but it's an observation that became evident as the set progressed. 

The previous times I have seen Ferg, he had only one album out, so this time, my expectations were set very high. Songs such as 'Hungry Ham', 'Let It Bang' and 'Uzi Gang' translated well from mp3 to live performance. 'Psycho', which is also from his most recent release, was a surprise. It wasn't one my favourite tracks when I first listened to the album, but after listening to it live, I'm convinced that it's one of his best. His closer, 'New Level', was a clear crowd favourite and left everyone still amped up. 

After seeing A$AP Ferg now four times, one thing I have noticed each time is Marty Baller's growth from hypeman to his own rapper. Each time, Marty is there to ensure the crowd are in the mode and to support Ferg, it's great to see Ferg give Marty the support to be his own artist. On the night, he even gave Marty a separate entrance and allowed him to perform his material (such as 'Flex'). 

Though there weren't any groundbreaking changes to Ferg's show from a year ago, he gave the crowd what they wanted; killer hip-hop and a live performance that proves why is one of the best on-stage performers in the game right now. 

Written by Amy Smolcic

A$AP FERG | 170 RUSSELL | MELB | 23.9.16
Photographer: Karla Tolentino