For the opening two songs of his first sold-out show in Los Angeles, Lil Peep paced the stage in archetypal shoegaze fashion, perpetually pulling his black and hot pink bangs in front of his eyes while engaging in minimal human interaction besides giving us the occasional middle finger – and he didn’t even sing over the back track. More often than not, his back was actually turned to all of us at the Echo, tatted on it the words, EXIT LIFE. If you haven’t heard his music, Lil Peep essentially screams, cries, and raps about drugs, sex, and suicide over melancholy samples from artists he has grown up listening to, such as Brand New, Blink-182, Avenged Sevenfold, and the Postal Service, just to name a few. Don’t bother searching for his music (most of which he produces entirely with GarageBand) on Spotify or Apple – the 20-year-old rapper has outwardly denounced the platforms on Twitter, wanting to retain the online fan community he and other members of underground rap group GOTHBOICLIQUE have on SoundCloud. Lil Peep’s offbeat physical appearance and whiny sad white boy angst obviously don’t appeal to all who listen – but especially after attending one of his shows, one cannot deny his uncanny ability to connect with others and make them feel like they aren’t alone.
After not singing “hellboy” and “white wine,” Peep felt the need to apologize to his fans, ranging from hip-hop aficionados to stereotypical goth chicks and everyone else in between. “Sorry for not actually singing before” he told us despondently. “I’ve been in a…bit of a place today…you guys know me.” What could have easily been outrage from the audience was instead compassion. Sometimes struggling to move on from one song to the next, particularly after “OMFG,” when he started crying onstage, Peep’s unapologetic vulnerability which is intensified by his physical appearance was met with the undying support of his fans, screaming “We love you Peep!” and “You f***ing saved my life!” Some took it too far – during “world’s away,” one guy appeared to be so emotionally connected that he became rather uncontrollable, and security had to carry him out. Passionate moshing also ensued during some of his more trap-infused songs, like “witchblades” and “drive by.”
To compensate for the beginning of the show, Peep actually asked the guy playing the backtracks on his MacBook onstage, because when you produce only on GarageBand that’s the only backline you really need, to pause the music for the last minute and a half of each song, so that he and his fans could sing the last verse and chorus together. Say what you want about Peep’s mumbling over walls of noise on SoundCloud, but his voice is undeniably impressive when live and a-ca-pella. The communal, cathartic energy of the room, guided by Peep, made this a really special show, and further speaks to his authenticity and as a result why many people feel he is such a promising new artist.
HANNAH HICKS, DJ
SPACE CAMP, TUESDAYS 2:00 A.M-3:00 A.M
PHOTO BY LAST.FM