Joey Bada$$ at the Pageant: "There's One Thing I Don't Love About St. Louis, and That's the Fucking Police"
The Smokers Club Tour / Joey Bada$$
Press Photo Joey Bada$$
October 29, 2013
I arrived promptly at 8 p.m. (I never showed up for the openers when I was younger -- being early to shows was "uncool"), and I was surprised to see that the pit already had a good amount of people in it. Apparently none of them got the memo about how showing up on time is obviously unhip. Unless I missed the memo that said showing up on time is the new thing? I assume the 8 p.m. crowd was there to catch all five acts. I came early for a decent parking spot.
It should be noted that this was undeniably the Smoker's Club tour, as when I approached the doors of the Pageant, the smell of marijuana on all the kids was overwhelming.
Also worth noting is that the show was all ages, information I didn't have to double-check on my ticket, because sitting near me was a large group of fourteen-year-old boys (who were trying too hard, as fourteen-year-olds do) and what looked to be a seventeen-year-old couple (who couldn't keep their hands off each other, and who definitely took a Facebook-worthy prom-style picture). Of course the best lighting for my fervent scribbles was near them, though neither group was as bothersome as one would expect -- they seemed to be playing it cool/not wanting to show too much excitement, calmly drinking concession-stand paper-cupped sodas.
Otherwise, the evening was as expected: a hyperbolic amount of bucket hats, crew-neck sweatshirts and general streetwear, a lot of young (mostly white) kids, who were, as it turned out, there to see Ab-Soul and sing along to every single bar, and everyone in the pit crowding the stage in order to grab a hand or two of someone marginally famous. Unfortunately, there wasn't much to overhear from the crowd -- the venue was never quiet since there was always a performer or DJ onstage.
There was, of course, a lot of weed talk from the performers -- during sets, in between sets, in between free T-shirt throwings -- I reiterate, this is the Smoker's Club tour. At some point, it felt a little formulaic: There are only so many times you can tell your audience to light up in the pit, or at the top of the arch (though the kid onstage said "arc", which annoyed my St. Louisan sensibilities) before it becomes corny. The powerful weed aroma remained a mystery, since nothing illicit was ever in sight. The Smoker's Club must have either sprayed the whole venue with weed-smelling perfume, or maybe hot-boxed the place before everyone arrived.
Statik Selektah, Joey Bada$$'s DJ, played a pretty decent set before Joey came on. Selektah started off with Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones Part II," which, disappointingly, got no one particularly excited. He then sampled some more old-school tunes: Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice," ODB's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," Nas' "NY State of Mind," Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive," Nate Dogg's "21 Questions" and Biggie's "Juicy," all to a still clearly underwhelmed crowd.
Of course Pro Era opened their set with a nod to Joey Bada$$ and Ab-Soul's Monday night issues with the St. Louis cops, asking the audience to chant "fuck the police" with them, which happened several times throughout the night, across all the acts.
Continue to page two for more of our review.