EarthGang at the Middle East, 10/21

by Colin Keegan


Almost exactly a year before EarthGang dropped their most recent album Mirrorland, they premiered a live version of UP, a single from the album, on the ColorsxStudios YouTube channel. Their energetic performance, live vocals, and futuristic style elevated the song to another level and captured the attention of millions of viewers. The live Colors version is so popular that EarthGang made it available on streaming services by popular demand, even after the studio version released. EarthGang’s performance wasn’t only a promising teaser for their upcoming album, but also a glimpse into how incredible their live shows on the Welcome To Mirrorland tour would be.

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Starting things off was Benji—you can read our interview with him here. Despite this being Benji’s first ever tour experience, he controlled the stage and the crowd better than some headliners I’ve seen. He performed a mix of older songs like “Tamale”, songs from his upcoming album Smile, You’re Alive!, and a few unreleased tracks like “Eastside Bounce” and “Night Rider” that were phenomenal live. This performance was Benji’s introduction to the majority of the crowd, and their response was beyond enthusiastic and energetic. Before the show, I overheard people around me wondering who Benji was, but by the time Benji’s set ended, they were all following him on Spotify and reposting his music. He had the entire crowd waving from side to side and bouncing with their hands up. One of the best highlights was when the beat cut out during one song and Benji rapped an a capella verse with the crowd punctuating each bar with cries of “AYYY!”

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Following Benji was Duckwrth, an already seasoned performer. He smoothly transitioned from jumping around to rap bangers like “Start A Riot” and “Tamagotchi” to dancing to groovier funk tracks like “Crush” and “I’M DEAD,” and even brought out a stand to serenade smooth unreleased R&B track. Midway through the concert somebody threw him a hat which he caught and put on to an uproar of applause. Duckwrth ended his set by asking the crowd if they wanted to dance or mosh, to which the resounding response was “MOSH!” Duckwrth amped up the crowds anticipation by taking his shirt off and tapping the ceiling of the venue with his microphone while pacing slowly across the stage before the lights went red, he jumped onto a speaker, and he launched into “Fall Back” and one of the most intense performances of the night.

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In person, EarthGang’s charisma and raw energy shone as they put on one of the best shows that I’ve ever seen. In the interlude following Duckwrth’s set, the crowd’s enthusiasm reached a fever pitch as fans eagerly waited for the main act. The crowd went wild when the album opener, “LaLa Challenge” started playing as Olu and WowGr8 walked out and immediately jumped into their performance. WowGr8 wore overalls with sparkling multi-colored platform chucks and large silver spider earrings. Olu came out wearing a fur coat, sunglasses, and a headwrap which all came off at some point during the performance. They ran through several songs off of Mirrorland including personal favorites “Bank,” “This Side,” and “Tequila” before transitioning to older hits like “Artificial” and “Meditate.”

After “Artificial” WowGr8 led the crowd in chants of “WE ARE ALL EARTHGANG” before bringing up members of the crowd to dance on stage to “So Many Feelings.” They rounded out the night performing their verses on “Sacrifices,” “Wells Fargo” (where WowGr8 had the crowd create a moshpit), “1993,” and “Down Bad” from Revenge Of The Dreamers III. The stage went entirely dark for a minute before Olu and WowGr8 came back on and performed “Up.” The whole place was bouncing while Olu took a stage dive and WowGr8 jammed out on stage.

After the show, both members of EarthGang took the time to sign anything and everything fans had to give them. EarthGang are currently on the first leg of their Welcome To Mirrorland tour, and recently announced more touring dates in 2020. If you see your city on the list, buy tickets right away—you don’t want to miss EarthGang live.

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