By Thalia Stopa
Tuesday, February 28th 2017
VANCOUVER – True to form, the notably mature-beyond-his-years Vince Staples was pure professionalism when he played to a sold-out crowd at the Vogue last Tuesday night. Only his youthful all-black uniform of chucks, skinny cropped jeans and hoodie belied the 23-year-old Californian’s age. (The hoodie, it should be noted, was none other than his own Prima Donna merch, and set a new precedent for the old rule that it’s tacky to wear a band’s t-shirt to their concert.) Alone on a stage backed by a wall of screens projecting photographic images, Staples’ slim figure nevertheless created a striking and captivating image for a solid 90-minute set. The young musician gave the obligatory shout out but performed largely uninterrupted, aside from a couple of sonic interludes of crashing waves and a thunderous storm which had rabid audience members experiencing separation anxiety. “Six more songs!” they chanted during one such pause.
Overall, the energy and antics of the all ages audience exceeded the musician’s performance: spills, fights, ill-executed shoulder hoists and general drama abounded and kept security occupied. However, the liberal lighting of joints was largely ignored and, by the end of the night, the entire theatre was filled with a pungent concoction of smoke machine fumes and weed – no small feat for the balconied 1250-person-capacity venue. At times even Staples’ was obscured by the collective fog and only the neon laser-like lights fanning out from the stage could effortlessly slice through the smoke.
With two EPS, last year’s LP Prima Donna and a brand new single, Bagbak, under his belt, Staples did a good job of paying service to his diverse discography. Amped up for his live performance, the latter translated into a rave-like club banger. In contrast, the melancholic ode to summer, “Summertime”, provided the crowd with a much-needed comedown, performed as an encore. Other standouts included early hits off of 2014’s Hell Can Wait, like the provocative arm-raising “Hands Up” and “Blue Suede”, and the clap-along Summertime ‘06 track, “Loco.”Vince Staples, Vogue Theatre