Blue lights flashed over the bobbing heads of the audience. The room was small; even when farthest away from the stage, there could not have been more than thirty feet of separation. Shallou was the first and only performer to take the stage before Quinn XCII’s sold-out show at Majestic Theatre on Saturday night.
Shallou created calming techno noises with minimal vocals. When he hit his electric drum set, the bass coursed through me with tremendous vibration. While the noise produced was interesting and fun, the vocals were hard to hear. His singing sounded more like a murmur than audible words. Thus, the crowd didn’t engage with the intro band, leaving many just standing in place or talking with their friends. While Shallou didn’t generate the expected hype, he was very gracious and continuously thanked the crowd after performing each song.
The mood changed instantly when Quinn XCII took the stage. Right away he addressed the crowd saying he wasn’t going to perform unless all hands were in the air. He started off with “Another Day in Paradise,” a song off of one of his older albums. The crowd must have been mainly long-time fans as they shrieked with excitement when the beat began. Quinn followed with “Bootleggin’” and “Light On” — two songs from his older albums — before asking the crowd if he could play songs from his recently released album The Story of Us.
He didn’t resume playing until the crowd screamed loud enough for his liking, which only took two tries. Quinn checked in with the crowd frequently, either by asking us to put our hands up or by pointing the microphone at us so that we could continue on with the song where he left off. At one point he sat down on a random couch that happened to be on stage and even made a joke about it.
Quinn’s presence wasn’t overpowering, and he didn’t have to force anything. He walked and jumped around on stage, gathering his energy from the crowd. The connection solidified even further when Quinn gave us a small pep talk about life. The room was quiet except for his voice and a quiet melody in the background from the keyboardist. His general message was that life is too short to hang on to our fears. He told us to be vulnerable and to forget the world’s outside negativity.
Finishing his speech, he continued with his song “60 Seconds” to remind us of the importance of self love. Then, the singer showed his creative side by singing a medley of “Location” and “Cocoa Butter Kisses” by Khalid and Chance the Rapper respectively.
As a reward for the continuous energy, Quinn XCII sang two songs for an encore following his set. Ending with Quinn and the crowd singing “Straightjacket,” the beat and melodies silenced, leaving just the combination of voices finishing the final note.
Overall, the performance on Quinn’s part was energetic and interactive. He engaged with the crowd like we were his friends, entertaining us and giving us advice. He radiated positivity and showered it upon us with his songs.