Live: Wiz Khalifa at Sunset Cove Amphitheater, July 15
Photo by Ian Witlen
With Big Sean and Chevy Woods
Sunset Cove Amphitheater, Boca Raton
Friday, July 15, 2011
Better than: Not wearing bug repellent.
For the large crowd assembled at Sunset Cove, there would've been precious little better than Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang rolling through Boca Raton. Rolling being the operative word, of course. Many of our devoted area university students got their evening started in the grassy parking lot, which was a sea of hot-boxed cars and jersey-wearing bros (and their girlfriends in tight jorts) chugging Four Loko as far as the eye could see.
Opener Chevy Woods -- an official Taylor Gang associate -- knew he had a live crowd from the start, with plenty of in-the-know folks assembled and creating a cloud of smoke on the lawn promptly at 7 p.m. And so his mantra of "Thumbs up, get fucked up" went over splendidly. With DJ Bonics controlling the turntables for the night, Woods laid into some straightforward party rhymes including "Jimmy Fallon" -- you know, because he's totally willing to get started at 12:35 ET when he has to. Unfortunately, Woods did not have Fallon's house band the Roots to boost him higher than a passable dude strutting back and forth, and aside from "She in Love," the crowd didn't ignite beyond the front row.
The enthusiastic Big Sean, donning a Detroit Red Wings tank, fared better with the audience with a good many call-and-response moments. With "Say 'I do it, boy!'" and "Fuck you doing?" Crowd: "Bullshit!" and "Say 'Suck my dick, bitch!'" at his disposal, the Kanye West protégé was definitely using words that resonated. With the blunts in rotation among the expanding group close to the stage, Sean showed some power with the infectious "Too Fake" at the outset. Later, his turn on Kanye's "All of the Lights" got him to rise atop one of the speakers, and later he dedicated "Let's Get It On" to his security guards in a humorous turn. Perhaps the only segment of Big Sean's act that didn't go over particularly well was when he tried to get serious with "Memories," which takes more than "make some noise if you fuck with your family" for this particular crowd to understand that they're supposed to sober up and listen for a minute.
By the time Wiz Khalifa hit the stage, it was dark, and a cool breeze blew through the purple-hazy light. While most of the crowd had just spent the past 15 minutes screaming along with every word of Rick Ross' recent oeuvre ("9 piece, straight 8 balls!"), there were a few doing it their own way. Two young men, obviously best friends, earnestly shared a joint in front of your reviewer without as much as a word to each other. Once their man was onstage, mic cocked at a 45-degree angle, they allowed themselves to move ever so slightly.
What a young crowd likes about Wiz Khalifa, among many things, is that he's got the youthful energy to go the distance with them. Ever-moving, ever-posing, the 23-year-old is a taller, skinnier, more tatted-up version of all of them. He even cooled them down with enormous Super Soakers at one point while tearing through a lengthy set with plenty from Rolling Papers featured.
Although the high-energy set never really slowed, Khalifa got the biggest response from his audience when he had got
his pop sneakers on. Exhibit A: "The Thrill" from the Flight School mixtape. Unlike many of his rap colleagues, Wiz never hesitates to break into a more dance-oriented mode, and BPMs tend to be his friend. Even girlfriend Amber Rose decided to come out and watch his set during
"No Sleep," a lighter-waving anthemic moment if there ever was one.
The yellow confetti blasted out during "Black and Yellow," which was not the final track of the night. Although the song is Khalifa's biggest pop success to date, it's merely a pretty good song to the crowd who has a trove of his mixtapes at their disposal. It banged, but "Ink My Whole Body" was the jam that kept everyone with their hands up until the end.
Wiz Khalifa's quote of the night: "Sincethey'rehavingsuchagreattime. [Overenunciating] Since they are having such a great time. Shit, man, I'm high."
Jerseys in attendance: Brandon Marshall, Jeff Conine, LeBron James, Gilbert Arenas, Amare Stoudamire, Nick Van Exel, Gary Payton, Kobe Bryant, D. Wade, and Troy Polamalu.
Random detail: New Times photographer Ian Witlen reported seeing several kids pulled from the center of the pit suffering from exhaustion. And then suffering even more as they called their parents from the First Aid area.
Wiz Khalifa's Set List:
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20405 Amphitheater Circle
Boca Raton, Fl 33498