On July 25th, I had the chance to see Yeek headline his sold-out show at The Roxy for his Too Fast Tour. Yeek has been building his reputation as a DIY artist for years and has just begun to gain success at rapid speed with his genre-bending music. The night opened with LA-based rapper DOTHA, rapping songs from his unreleased projects. DOTHA, a new artist to the LA rap scene, fits the genre of chillhop, performing songs with relaxed vibes and slow tempos. Although he has one official release titled Daily, the unreleased music he shared with us showed a lot of promise in his career. I would single him out as an artist to watch. Closely following DOTHA was Jean Dawson, an artist raised dually in San Diego and Tijuana. Jean and his band, dressed entirely head-to-toe in black and covered in metal, mixed grunge-era rock with hip hop through his set. With him, the crowd opened up and started to mosh, raging to the singles from his debut album Bad Sports.
When black curtains of The Roxy finally reopened after Jean’s set, I watched Yeek shuffle onstage of the Roxy theater with his three bandmates to the screams of a sold-out crowd. The Roxy was filled with people from the fanbase Yeek has built from the ground up, people who appreciate his colorful range and DIY artistry. He opened his set with ‘Cleaner Air,’ the most-streamed single from his latest release IDK Where. ‘Cleaner Air,’ with its upbeat instrumental and fast-paced tempo, had the audience nodding their heads happily and bringing up the energy. It felt like I was watching four friends having the time of their lives on stage, and it is always a beautiful experience to witness another person’s (or in this case, people’s) happiness.
Because Yeek is an artist who experiments with genres through his music, it was impossible to anticipate what would happen next. During Solstice, the crowd slowly swayed side to side with
the flashlights of their phones lighting up the stage. Just as the show seemed to slow down, however, Yeek started to perform one of his indie rock-influenced songs, Shake, the crowd was rising and bumping like high tides. Even though my sprained ankle was begging me to sit down, I couldn’t stop myself from jumping with them. That is the persuasive magic of his music. Somehow, Yeek managed to develop his sound in a way that understands and anticipates how his audience will react.
Towards the close of the show, Yeek surprised the crowd with special guest Jesse Rutherford. After making a name for himself as the frontman of the rock band The Neighbourhood, Jesse debuted his sophomore solo album GARAGEB& this year, using a production style similar to that of Yeek’s signature DIY production. Jesse was greeted by an excited and surprised crowd, with the loudest screams coming from me, partly because of my sprained ankle, but mainly because I have been listening to Jesse since freshman year of high school. The two performed a song they had collaborated on from IDK Where, Fatigued. Yeek had written the song during a long drive to LA, and the two came together to record it in Koreatown. Watching Yeek and Jesse reunite to perform a song they had produced less than ten miles from the Roxy was nothing short of magic. With nothing but the flashlights of people’s phones illuminating the stage, the duo performed Fatigued with their arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders.
Yeek, in true performer style, closed the show with fan-favorite Only In the West. Only In the West, Yeek’s most-streamed single, mixes funk and pop influences to paint a picture of how Yeek feels about Los Angeles when he first moved here. While the song through headphones gives off a chill vibe, hearing it live made the crowd, with me included, bang our heads like maniacs. Yeek’s bandmates threw themselves into the crowd to crowd surf, and audience members began to follow in their footsteps. People were hopping onstage to throw themselves into the arms of strangers, running wild with the moment, and I couldn’t help but wish I was one of them. Even though it was Yeek’s fourth show of his Too Fast Tour, the energy he brought with him made the night feel like the opening show of the tour. For anyone debating whether or not to dip into their checking account for Yeek, I say do it. Do it, and, I promise, there will be no regrets.
— Star McCown, Staff