Swedish rapper Yung Lean performed an outstanding show at the Masquerade on December 4th. On his second American tour 18 year old Jonatan didn’t miss a beat during his show in Atlanta with Goth Money Records and Gravity Boys.
The show actually was not without its logistical upsets, unknown circumstances moved the show from a Saturday to a Thursday, and even then, it began about an hour late. Once it got rolling however, it didn’t stop until they concluded at midnight three hours later.
Opening for Yung Lean and the Gravity Boys was Goth Money Records. Effectively pumping up the crowd with numerous tracks and a freestyle session for those who turned up were more than hyped for the acts to come after intense interaction with Goth Money.
Gravity Boys made the entrance one would expect, running out onto the stage starting their set immediately and with impact. Transitioning from the more traditional or rather current standard rapping, Gravity Boys stepped further to the absurd side Yung Lean fans were expecting. At first glance however, by the end of their set, the crowd seemed to have exhausted what party they had in them by the time Lean’s tech was finally ready to go.
Regardless of the late start, weary work week and two intense opening acts Yung Lean revived the crowd at last. The opening musical production for Ginseng Striptiptoed into earshot and everyone in the building erupted as Yung Lean and accompanying Sad Boys Yung Gud and Yung Sherman charged the stage.
Yung Lean exhibited his characteristically odd mannerisms as he rapped and relied heavily on crowd interaction. While just his presence and mood is a treat I was rather hit off guard when his actual live vocals came out from the cacophony and revealed his struggling voice relative to the surrounding musical chaos.
Regardless Yung Lean nailed his hit songs like Hurt, Lightsaber, Sunrise Angel and Oreomilkshake among others. Surprising for me was his performance of Leanworld, while a characteristic song of Unknown Memory which the tour is for I thought it too calm, brooding and well, sad a song for the atmosphere. But like Lean does he surpassed my initially apprehensive feelings and killed it like every other song that night, breeding in the crowd a sort of communal, shared sorrow as everyone together sang the chorus. That track in particular was an experience for sure, one you’ll struggle to find in a performance by anyone but the masterful Jonatan.
As for experiences unique to our Swedish sad boy I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the cans of Arizona green tea being tossed into the crowd. Accompanying the trademark drink the Sad Boys’ bottles of SmartWater were also passed to the crowd bringing to my mind ironic appreciation of the ridiculous vaporwave aesthetics they’re so commonly associated with. Multiple crowd surfers joined the drinks’ airspace and continued to do so even after multiple engagements with the security; it was humorous but rudely distracting for people in the crowd. I for one, standing at about six feet one inch could just barely see over top everyone in front of me with The Masquerade boasting entirely flat floors with no height staggering of any sort, so, while I was fine I felt rather sorry for the smaller folks besides me especially once some of Yung Lean’s fans took to the skies.
Those coming to see Yung Lean most certainly got Yung Lean and as a devoted fan I was incredibly pleased. It’s a memory I’ll surely remember fondly for a long time, specifically more so I imagine than any other performance by an artist who is perhaps, less of a character than Yung Lean. The night had its issues: beginning late, considerable time between acts, a promising mosh pit which never became anything more than a simple distraction keeping me from getting closer to the stage, among a few other annoyances hardly worth any notes. If you have the chance to see Yung Lean it’s an endeavor I doubt you’ll regret, even if you’re hardly a fan or straight up don’t like rap to begin with, he carried the show on his shoulders with his Sad Boys in support and what a show it was.