Review: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the State Fair

There was a fight at Macklemore last night. During “And We Danced.” What kind of douche-nozzles decide that’s a great time to fight?

    1. It’s the state fair. THE STATE FAIR! That’s a place for love and greasy food and farm animals. Not fights.
    2. Have you listened to a single word of Macklemore’s songs, or are you just here because your girlfriend bought a ticket and you’re too insecure to let her go anywhere without you?
    3. What are you hoping to accomplish by trying to punch somebody in a crowd? Because when you draw back your fist, you’re going to hit somebody with your elbow, and when you throw a punch there’s at least a 50% chance you’re going to hit somebody else and if you happen to, say, fall over, then you’ll probably wind up trampling a small-framed, 5’2″ girl who’s just minding her own business trying to get down at Macklemore. Because that’s why everybody else was there. Dingbat.

Let’s go back to the beginning. I arrived with my friend, Adam, about halfway through Chance the Rapper’s set. He was kind of like a deranged camp counselor/cheerleader persona. For being called Rapper, I can’t really recall if he did any rapping. He did a bunch of shout-outs, backed by an ADHD-riddled pack of sound-effects by his DJ, tried to get everybody to pump their arms just like his arms (but faster! No I said FASTER!), and actually asked if anybody had heard of Chicago. When the large video screens showed close-ups of his face, it provided some explanation of his strange behavior: his pupils looked to be fully dilated, darting back and forth around the crowd as he kept scratching his cheek and neck and rambling, rambling, rambling.

Rain was in the forecast, so when it picked up towards the end of Chance’s set, coupled with a lightning strike or two, things started to look pretty bleak for the rest of the show. The Grandstand was evacuated and we were sent out to the plaza adjacent to the Grandstand to wallow in the wafting odor of steak sandwiches from Butcher Boys. Soon we were let back in and the show was announced to resume at 9:15, greatly cutting into Talib Kweli’s opening set time. He still got to play about a ten songs, got the crowd back from the weird place Chance sent us and primed everybody for the Mack.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis delivered. They opened with 10,000 hours, the song that earned great respect for me because instantly I knew he was referencing Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers,’ talking about the genius-generating threshold of practice time requiring a minimum 10k hours to be proficient at any task or job.

He then went straight into ‘Thrift Shop,’ knowing that’s the song most people know and that everybody wants to hear. They ran through all the singles with aplomb, with a full supporting cast of a trumpet player, trumpet player, back-up dancers (“The Macklettes”) as well as appearces by Wanz on ‘Thrift Shop’ and Ray Dalton on ‘Can’t Hold Us’ and ‘Wing$.’

It was an odd show. He had a Fruit by the Foot eating contest between a guy and a girl, whoever finished them first got a free t-shirt. It was a terrible idea, I swear it took them about seven minutes to get the giant wad of pressed fruit down. Hilarious, but it would have been a lot better to have heard another song than to watch somebody I don’t know try and choke down fruit roll-ups.

At the end, Macklemore talked about his love of Minnesota, how he thinks of it as his second home, about how Minneapolis was repping him when nobody else in outside of Seattle knew who he was. He talked about the tiny stage they played at Sound Set, thanked all the people for coming out to see them at that show, all the other shows he played in Minnesota. Then he annouced that they were going to do something they never, ever do, but that they’re doing because they’re in Minnesota, and if he ever decides to get out of Seattle, he’s going to move to Minneapolis. He asked if the crowd was ready, the crowd went ballistic. He asked again, they answered in kind.

Then they played ‘Can’t Hold Us.’ Again. So they never play the same song twice in a single show? That’s usually a good thing. That’s typically standard. It wasn’t a different version by any means. It was better than the first time around, for sure, but it hardly felt necessary. I was happy, but a little confused. He announced the absolute end of the show, thanked everybody for coming out and then the fireworks started. Ended on a high note for sure. See you next time, Mack.

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