Live Nation presents Earthgang – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN – February 5th, 2020
w/ Jurdan Bryant, Wynne, and Mick Jenkins
Review and photos by Sophiea Owen
Earthgang brought a massive party to the Varsity Theater last week. Even on a Wednesday night, the show was sold out, and even at the beginning of the night the place was pretty packed. Being a 15+ show, the crowd was full of drinking partygoers and hyped-up teenagers alike, all bouncing to the pre-show music bumping throughout the place.
Jurdan Bryant started the party with a classic hip-hop feel, with lots of call-and-response type banter and telling the crowd to throw their hands up, which the crowd was more than happy to do. The set was very minimal, with just him up there on the stage in low light, rapping away. Once he was done the party didn’t stop, with the DJ that ran his set just continued playing music and the crowd did not stop jumping and dancing around.
There was no clear distinction between sets, since the DJ just kept going and it felt more like a continuous party, so I almost didn’t notice right away when Wynne took the stage, but she quickly commanded the scene with stomp and swagger. Being a 22-year-old rapper from Portland, Oregon, she completely owned the stage for her set.
Mick Jenkins definitely slowed things down a bit with more of an R&B/low-fi vibe. He welcomed everyone to his set with good vibes, saying to the crowd, “Sing if you know it, vibe if you don’t,” which I thought was a very good sentiment, inviting people who knew and didn’t know his music to enjoy the show, and enjoyable it was.
Finally Earthgang took the stage with aplomb. The openers had had very minimal lighting and volume, which was immediately discarded upon their entrance. Huge bright lights emitted from the screens behind them and the volume was turned up to 11 with blasting bass that shook the venue. Earthgang is the epitome of energy, jumping around the stage with so much vigor that you instantly wanted to party with them, and party the crowd did. Everyone was jumping, and ultimately the energy in the whole room was one of just plain fun. From the barrier to the balcony, everyone was dancing and singing along, feeding off of each other into a non-stop party. Earthgang’s music is rigorous and bright in its own right, but the community and love in the room was very intense. It was cold outside, but Earthgang warmed everyone up.