By Keegan Prosser
Macklemore is no fan of subtleties. Whether it be rocking gold pants and a blonde>"/>
Neumos October 7
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
By Keegan Prosser
Macklemore is no fan of subtleties. Whether it be rocking gold pants and a blonde mullet as his alter ego Raven Bowie, or wearing the most elaborate fur jacket he can find, the star on the rise has always been one for theatrics.
So when the rapper's camp dropped a fat banner on the side of Neumos club in Seattle Sunday morning, announcing a free Vitamin Water-sponsored "secret show" (after having released a series of mysterious tweets the night before) it was clear this was not meant to be something inconspicuous.
The scenario was as follows: the first 600 fans in line would be granted access to the free all-ages show Sunday night. No tickets would be handed out - just a stamp at the door after hours of waiting. Capacity was reached by 5 p.m., and doors opened at 7:30 p.m.
From the minute you walked in to the club, it felt like something special; the stage, set up with an old couch, ironic eagle paintings, retro lamps and taxidermy, felt half like a scene from the now viral "Thrift Shop" video, and half like we'd just been invited in to Haggerty's living room - the latter being nearly true, as the rapper explained the props on stage literally came from his house.
Touted as a "conscious" rapper and criticized for being kitschy and full of pretense, it would have been safe to assume this show was a well-crafted publicity stunt. And while the pictures and stories that come of it will likely do the trick, the intimate evening was obviously about so much more.
"In interviews I always get asked how me and Ryan [Lewis, producer] met," Haggerty explained to the packed room. "I get so tired of telling that story. I just want to talk about how we made these songs - the creative shit."
Cutting the set with behind the scenes commentary, Sunday's show was a glimpse into the three-plus years the duo have spent creating their new album, The Heist -- a "Storytellers" of sorts -- and a preview of the new tracks fans can expect at Friday's sold-out WaMu show.
Speaking to being an independent artist, the rapper was more than gracious for the support and love in the room, iterating on several occasions the gravity of releasing this album completely separate of a major label, and the journey of making music that matters - something he's documented quite cheekily on new cuts "Jimmy Iovine," and "White Walls."
"They said I wouldn't ever rap about cars," Macklemore teased about the latter, a cheeky rebuttal to those who have hated on his more politically charged material. "And I was like, watch me do it."
Boasting a roster that featured spots from Ray Dalton, Mary Lambert, Buffalo Madonna, Hollis Wong Wear, Wanz and Eighty4Fly - all of whom can be heard on the album - Sunday's show was an honest gathering of friends, doing what they love, in a room full of people who genuinely admire what they do.
When the rapper broke down on stage Sunday night, following the closing bars of new track "Starting Over," it could have been cast-off as insincere. But seeing Haggerty discuss his struggles with addiction, and the momentary lapse of judgment that lost him three-and-a-half years of sobriety, in such a raw, stripped-down setting, was painfully affecting.
While the night was full of spectacular moments, the most remarkable may have been the tear-jerking (who am I kidding, flood-gate-opening) performance of "Same Love."
Riding on the success of the video's viral turn last week (and having already raised more than $20,000 in support of marriage equality as of this post), the song's soaring melody and thoughtful verses are poignant as is. But to witness an entire room of millennials singing along to Lambert's hook - and seeming to genuinely believe what they say - is a moment I will never forget.
More than anything, Sunday's set proved a true testament to the love this man has for his hometown people - and one of the most honest, vulnerable shows I've ever seen. For those of you going to the show on Friday (this girl will definitely be there) - you're in for a treat.
Ten Thousand Hours
Thrift Shop (with Wanz)
Thin Line (with Buffalo Madonna)
Same Love (with Mary Lambert)
Wings (with Ray Dalton)
Can't Hold Us (with Ray Dalton)
White Walls (with Hollis)
Gold (with Eighty4Fly)
Cowboy Boots (with group)
And We Danced