On Wednesday night, Raury put on a show that will not be forgotten anytime soon. With supporting act Demo Taped, the two Atlanta-based artists came to Schine Underground as part of the Bandersnatch concert series.
The show was just 17-year old Demo Taped third ever live performance and sadly at the beginning of the set it was apparent. There were huge audio problems where the sound kept going in and out, however, the sound board guys took the blame for it, and rightfully so. Once the audio problems were sorted, the set really got going. He was mixing the songs live on stage and kept in touch with what the crowd wanted while also doing his jobs of putting on a great show and getting the crowd loose for Raury. Demo played all of his current songs which were all very well received and he really showed off his vocal and musical abilities. As the night went on, he definitely found his stage presence and got the place pretty into it.
He teased some new songs off his forthcoming project which he discussed in an interview before the show. The upcoming piece is heavily inspired by the entire concept of Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet, and Demo Taped hopes to make it a cohesive project including a video and screenplay accompaniment.
“Lord save this burning earth,” seemed like the most appropriate first words to come out of the folk/rap/singer-songwriter’s youthful soul. Raury, 19-year-old Indigo child, hopped onto the stage at filled with energy from beanie to boots. With one leg up on the subwoofer placed at the front of the stage, Raury got the crowd moving their hands up and down by the end of his first track, the decisive protest anthem “Revolution.” Raury led the revolution, and for at least one night we were his Indigos. “Welcome to the Crystal Express, Syracuse,” he exclaimed.
Not only is his genre-less music impossible to pin down, but the same goes for his background. He’s so Atlanta, yet so not at the same damn time. “This one’s dedicated to the homies that made it out”, he echoes before he performs the club banger “Trap Tears.” This song is an outlier, however, not a staple of Raury’s musicality. His sound doesn’t contest with that of Atlanta trap rap, but his edgy and acerbic persona are straight out The A.
At this point, the crowd was more than entrenched by Raury and his message, as his short speeches in between sets marked each song as the start of a new chapter. “Devil’s Whisper” is the last high octane, blood rushing track before he slows it down. “Can I talk to you Syracuse?” he asked the crowd as he’s handed an acoustic guitar. “Let me tell you a story about a girl I loved…I thought I loved.” His band, who was killer all night long, played second fiddle to Raury on this track, as he strums sharply on the strings that carry “Cigarette Song” throughout. For what is one of the more personal songs he performed on the evening, it was surprisingly the highlight of his 13 track set list. With a redone chorus that infused a sweet, slowed down bass to complement his repressive lyrics, it made for quite the remix.
Raury kept it low key for the next couple songs, as he pays tribute to a childhood friend that he lost recently to the trap and that unforgiving lifestyle. You can see the emotion in the way he moved his body on “CPU,” punching his fist out toward the crowd, as he jerked his knee up and down like a young Jimi Hendrix. There was an aura surrounding Raury during this moment, and although everyone’s heads were bobbing to the beat, they were doing so with the same pain that their leader was performing with.
Raury is an unknown, a wild card, a big ass question mark atop the hip-hop landscape. The song that put his name, and his vision, on the map, was “God’s Whisper,” and he justly closed the concert with this rebellious chant by asking the Syracuse faithful to put their hands up one last time. He jumped off the stage and stood on the barricade, face to face with the students, pounding his fist to the chorus with every last one of them. Raury is a rare breed. Raury might truly be the rock star of hip-hop. In the studio, he’s a modern day hippie. On stage, he’s an animal that can’t be contained.