An intimate evening with Fat Tony and friends

An intimate evening with Fat Tony and friends

Written by Olivija Liepa

It is not every day that concert-goers have the opportunity to be in front of the stage with the night’s performer standing among the crowd. On the evening of Oct. 30, Houston-based hip-hop artist Fat Tony, born Anthony Lawson Jude Ifeanyichukwu Obiawunaotu, gave his fans this exclusive opportunity, turning the show at the Middle East almost into a private concert for a few lucky fans. He, along with the night’s openers, Hua Li and Cadence Weapon, whose real name is Roland Pemberton, were very sincere, candidly interacting with audience members during and after the show.

Photos by Olivija Liepa

Doors opened at 8 p.m., and by 9:30 p.m., the show opened with Hua Li’s set. Her electro hip-hop music, combined with her confidence and poise on stage, made the tough task of warming up the crowd look easy. While it is true, that dancing among other people can be uncomfortable, the saying “dance like nobody’s watching,” has never been more applicable, as everyone turned from awkward bopping to carefree dancing in no time. Had the crowd been bigger by even just a couple people, the audience would likely have been more detached, feeling too self conscious to be the only ones dancing, but evidently the people who came were big fans, and cared to express their love of the music. “I am so happy to be here,” Li said, “Looking at your faces, I can tell that the next 24 hours are just gonna get better.”

After a short intermission, Roland Pemberten, better known as Cadence Weapon, took the stage. He gazed over all of the faces in the crowd, as he was able to clearly see each and every one of them. Comparing his own stage presence to a stand-up routine, Cadance Weapon showed off his light-hearted and down to earth personality, which made it easy for him to connect with the audience. During the popular “Sharks,” Cadence Weapon was overwhelmed with audience participation, as they cheered along the chorus, perhaps without even knowing the song prior to his set. Fat Tony was also among the crowd, dancing and hyping up his friend. This image of the artist excited, just as fans were, was rather charming, and only solidified the common consensus that Anthony is a pleasant person—both on and off the stage.

Another short break later, Fat Tony began his performance and started his set by burning sage with the audience, and then proceeded to play “Swervin’.” After this, he played the upbeat “10,000 Hours” off of his new album, also called “10,000 Hours.” Next was “Hood Party,” a song  off of his 2013 album, “Smart Ass Black Boy.” To introduce the song, Anthony started off by asking the crowd to “grab a partner,” and then he played a slower country track. This number then smoothly transitioned into the radically different “Whistle Song,” by Frankie Knuckles. Finally, it led in to Fat Tony actually performing his own song, “Hood Party.” His charismatic stage personality persisted all throughout the performance, and even off the stage, after the show.

The intimate venue and small crowd allowed for personal post-concert interactions between the artists and their fans. Fat Tony, Cadence Weapon, and Hua Li were seen hanging out at the merchandise table, having pleasant conversations with everyone who came up to them. The artists really wanted to get to know their fans, and likewise, fans really wanted to get to know them. Discussions ensued about album inspirations, past tour events, and the artist’s future plans. That night’s sincere performance of Fat Tony and his tour-mates proved that shows that feel more personal are often the ones that are the most memorable to fans. As the three rising artists continue their tour, greeted with enthusiasm in other cities, the Boston fans will remember this unique show for months to come.

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