Blackbear resurrected a sold out crowd at The Van Buren on Tuesday for his headlining dead 2 the world tour stop in Phoenix.
Up and comer Gashi opened the night with a short but enthusiastic set that definitely pumped up the early arrivals. His DJ rapped and danced, backing up the “trap Phil Collins” for songs like “My Year” and “That’s Mine”. He also covered clips of artists like Drake, getting everyone to jump and shout along. Girls in the front row screamed for Gashi as he tossed signed stickers for the biggest of his fans.
Elohim provided some unexpected support and incredible hype. The multi-instrumentalist and DJ built a stage bursting with light and video visuals, while her impressive vocals had the audience throwing their hands up and dancing with abandon. Her set flowed through seamlessly and she left her equipment to throw her body into the music. The fans were ecstatic, not wanting her time onstage to end.
Blackbear is a performer all his own. Rising above the chaos of SoundCloud, the rapper has transcended genres and barriers to build a career that came with the massive following that showed out in Phoenix and beyond. He took the stage backed by a live guitarist and drummer to accentuate the pulsing beats pounding through the speakers. “Chateau” and “i miss the old u” had the crowd singing the words so loud it drowned out Blackbear’s vocals.
Bear was pretty clearly over the moon at the response, pacing the front of the stage to connect with every fan in the crowd and they pressed even closer to the barricade. He showed off his versatility by sitting down at the piano for an emotional performance of “nyla” as lights flashed from fans’ phones. He also blasted the audience with confetti midset and the screaming reached a fever pitch not even halfway through the night.
His acoustic turn continued for “CHANGES” and then the energy picked right back up for the rest of the night. Bear was unstoppable, bringing things back to his SoundCloud roots for some older songs and newer hits like “idfc”. He also remixed Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes” before closing things out with “DEAD TO ME” and his biggest hit “do re mi”.
With the volume coming from the hip hop community, the sound and fanbase that Blackbear has cultivated is louder than most of the rest. Fans knew every word and left the venue after being showered in confetti, thrilled at the lengthy and epic performance that Bear treated to his adoring audience.
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel