Concert Review with PHOTOS: Macklemore

Photos by Matt Henry

Photos by Matt Henry

By Lisa Diedricks

Artist: Macklemore

Date / Venue: Friday February 9th, 2018 - Spark Arena, Auckland

Seeing one of your favourite artists is always one the greatest experiences a person can have, hearing your favourite songs, seeing production come to life, it's all part of the night, and it does something to your perspective of an already admired artist. Last night, I was lucky enough to see Macklemore for the second time, and I was not disappointed! 

Spark Arena hosted the 4 time Grammy award winning lyrical genius last night, performing to over 7000 fans. Ben Haggerty, better known by his stage name Macklemore, and for his O.G fans, Professor Mack Lemore, brought his crew and supporting acts all the way from Seattle, to show us the GEMINI Tour. 

Supporting acts, Dave B and XPerience were in my opinion two of the best supporting acts I've seen in a while in terms of truly complementing the main act. With DJ Duke behind them both on the tracks, and MCing, both XPerience and Dave B got the crowd absolutely hyped and engaged into the night. With XP having known and worked with Mack for over 15 years and being part of the main show, it's easy to see where this guy gets his incredible energy and humour from. Not only was he having the crowd laughing, his songs were a huge hit with the crowd. Dave B, is also an artist to watch these days. Having spending his first years in the industry underground and releasing mixtape gold, it was when he hit massive fandom in 2013 with his EP The Coffee and then his first album Punch Drunk Love, which brought him international success.  

Now having two great supporting acts like this, just puts you in the right mood for the rest of the show, and that’s exactly what where we headed. With diversity being one of the main attributes of Macklemore concerts, the Seattle born rapper, makes it known that everyone is accepted and loved when at his shows. Being an independent artist, he is truly one of my most respected in this industry, although Macklemore, in a slightly unusual recording contract, pays a nominal percentage of sales to use Warner Bros. Records's radio promotion department to push his singles, his dedication to do it all himself and have his own creativity held responsible for his sales, he dominates the charts every time. His music not only resonates to individuals time after time, his way of preaching without preaching is really a gift, as he gets his message across whilst having humility the entire time.  

With international chart toppers such as "White Walls" "Same Love" and "Thrift Shop"; 3 of his original singles from his first album with producer Ryan Lewis, being loved and sung all around the world still to this day,. Fans were shocked when they found out his latest album and headline tour GEMINI, was in fact not produced by his long time friend and confidant. Macklemore said in an interview on "The Breakfast Club", "...we've been working side by side every day, on songs, in the studio, writing, music videos, promo, tour, everyday, we just same together and said lets try something new, lets work with other people and see what happens, it was like a break up, but there's no beef...". This is the first album where Mack and Ryan have not worked together, instead, he brought in the likes of Budo, Jake One, Sam Wish, Tyler Dropps, who have worked with him before on previous songs, and artists including Mayer Hawthrone, G-Unit, 50 Cent etc. The album itself has been a hit here in NZ and all around the world, and his performance last night was definitely a good time in terms of what he brought to stage. His interaction never ceases to amaze me, as he gets right up there and personal with the crowd and isn't afraid of literally diving in.

The song "Can't Hold Us" which the music video was shot in some parts of NZ, has always been the beacon of which Mack uses to surf the crowd, as many people are aware of this, last nights surf was no different, as a few lucky fans held him up, he kept the hype going the crowd! Even though most of his music has you dancing and waving your head around, I was cool sitting down with a few tracks and just watching him and crowd interact, I'm always just blown away with his rapping skills live on stage and still have the breath and energy to dance around and be a big kid. 

Mack has always been a kiwi favourite to tour the country, and with his Auckland show done and dusted, tonight is Wellington's turn to experience the man himself on stage. With 2 – 3 trumpets, a drummer and 2 back up singers, that’s all it took to bring his vision and music to life for us. With a screen showing lyrics at times, most times it was used as a subtle back drop with incredible imagery that complimented the song that was playing. I always love going to shows in which the stage production are kept to a minimal, as sometimes I do tend to get distracted if there is too much and I can't give the artist the attention I want, and although many artists fork out money on huge productions, Mack and his team continue to bring simple shows with huge messages and authentic music, and that’s why I enjoy it, because it really is all about the music. 

If you still don’t know much about Mack here are three things that seems to be a common thing through out the world: 

1. He is an important celebrity in American culture. 

2. He did a song which to took a stance defending homosexuality, and a song that encouraged my deep desire to go thrift shopping. 

3. After winning the Best Rap Album Grammy, he sent a notorious, shameless text message to Kendrick Lamar. 

After performing at Spark Arena this time around without Ryan Lewis, fans were still able to see the man of hour up on stage doing his thing and bringing his message of activism and having a great time together for a night. Which is why many go to a Macklemore concert. "Diversity is welcome tonight, and every night, here with me and at shows, it's all love." Seeing Macklemore in concert for the second time was certainly a plus for me – and something I didn’t expect so soon. Truthfully, nothing will compare to the first time as he truly blew me away, but this concert came very close to better than the first, especially since I really enjoy the Gemini album. 

If the opportunity ever come about again, I would highly recommend seeing Macklemore live. Even if you don’t like all of his songs, it's his performance and overall show that leaves you speechless.