Do you like to smoke? No, not cigarettes. Let’s put it another way. Are you intimately familiar with the ol’ devil’s cabbage? If your answer is yes, then you would’ve gotten a lot of salutes and been in a lot of good company Thursday night in Dinwoodie Lounge.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but I’ve never actually been to a Dinwoodie Lounge concert before. Classified’s arrival this past Thursday, though, meant I had the chance to attend my first. In the time leading up to the show, the headlining artist built up my expectations — I have never been a diehard Classified fan, but I enthusiastically sing along to “Pay Day” and “Higher” given the chance. It’d be exciting, I figured, to see if the Canadian rapper would be able to pump me up as easily live as his songs do on the radio.
Starting off the night, the Doom Squad did their best to excite the crowd an hour before the show’s main act was due onstage. Props to members Kryple, Trippz, and NineLivez for trying in spite of many concertgoers resisting the calls to move closer to the stage, preferring instead to remain shrouded in the darkness of the back corners of the hall. By the time they finished their weed praise-laden set, I could see sweat collecting on the guys’ faces under the heat of the stage lights.
The masses remained tame until Classified himself showed up — that’s when the phones came out and the ear-shattering screams began. Although, from my position pressed up against the front of the stage, the space seemed crowded and hectic, there was a sense of shared camaraderie that prevented the whole experience from feeling like an exercise in claustrophobia. Every time Classified asked the crowd who liked to smoke (“Only the ones with the medical card, of course,” he quipped) the crowd erupted in cheers. Good vibes pervaded the lounge and judgement was non-existent.
The thing about what Classified calls “this living room shit” (read: super small, intimate concerts) is that the artist can get up close and personal with fans. Between bangers like “No Pressure” and “Inner Ninja,” along with older songs from across his last five albums, Classified made sure to shake hands, smile and pose for the myriad of phones tracking his every move on stage. He even singled out individuals for short, quirky banter. Mid-show, he asked who the youngest people in the crowd were; almost immediately, two alcohol-scented girls behind me shot their hands into the air: “Eighteen, one month in, baby! Whoooooo! Say fuck Five, Classified! Say fuck Five for Snapchat!” He somewhat confusedly complied, which speaks to the guy’s easy-going nature.
Near the end of the show, two lucky concertgoers were asked to join the rapper on stage for a couple of songs. They managed to crowd surf their way back to their spots, though it took a couple of attempts without falling to the floor. The show closed out with the scent of MJ in the air and the sound of beers sloshing in the hands of cheering audience members, it was a feel-good event for all — even, I imagine, for those for whom the details might be a little on the hazier side.