At the start of this December, Rebel, the new-and-improved version of Toronto mainstay Sound Academy, welcomed Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller to its stage. The venue has proved to be a top notch destination for international artists, and earlier this year underwent massive renovations. What used to be just another dusty black room with a stage now bridges the worlds of swanky clubs and live music venues. It has bars throughout, with an exclusive VIP balcony and booths. It provided the perfect backdrop for the show.  


 

A photo posted by Mac Miller (@larryfisherman) onNov 29, 2016 at 4:16pm PST

Upon arriving I was greeted by the DJ stylings of The Whooligan. He drew the crowd away from the massive bar at the back and into the dance floor, crowding up near the stage. His set picked up as people began shuffling along and following the beat. By the time he got off the stage everyone was hyped, crowded and excited to see Mac.

Mac Miller entered the stage to an ecstatic and rowdy crowd. Everyone was screaming and pushing their way to the front. While in many shows people are drawn to the very front to be near an artist, Rebel’s almost completely flat floor makes the close proximity necessary for visibility as well. As Mac opened with “Cinderella,” a single off his latest album The Divine Feminine (2016), I settled in at the back and accepted that I was not here to see Mac Miller, but instead to hear him. Oh, and to dance my ass off. He started the set with the major hits off his third album GO:OD AM (2015), “Brand Name” and “100 Grandkids.” He followed these songs with “Insomniak,” off his mixtape Faces (2014).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from him musically, like more specifically whether he would stick to promoting his latest album or dabbling into his earlier mixtapes and releases. Mac Miller managed to do both; he played what he wanted while pleasing the fans. There were no songs from his first album, Blue Slide Park (2011). Any older songs he played were drawn heavily from his various mixtapes. He played “Best Day Ever” off Best Day Ever (2011) and “Diablo” off Faces. He ended the night by coming back on for an encore and playing the throwback hit “Knock Knock” off his first mixtape K.I.D.S. (2010). The night ended with one last song, “When In Rome,” off his third album.


 

A photo posted by Mac Miller (@larryfisherman) onDec 2, 2016 at 2:17pm PST

Mac Miller put on a spectacular show. He has come into his own as a performer and it shows in his live performances. They are stripped down and straight forward. Simply a man, his music and approximately 3,300 screaming fans. The show was passionate at times, and grimey and grindy at others. He managed to thumb the line between indie pop and hip-hop. While it would have been nice to have a song or two played off his first album, it’s understandable that he would want to move away from his primary “frat boy rap” into a more curated and developed sound that reflects who he has grown into.

He has shown that he is no longer just “cheesy Mac with the easy raps,” and I’m sure no one is left asking, “Who the fuck is Mac Miller?”


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