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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 13 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 50
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis enthrall local crowd with flawless show
Arts & Entertainment
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Macklemore and Ryan Lewis enthrall local crowd with flawless show

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

MACKLEMORE AND RYAN LEWIS
KEY ARENA
December 11


Macklemore started playing shows in Seattle at the age of 16 to an audience of about 10 to 15 people, mostly family members and friends. This week, he and collaborator/producer Ryan Lewis performed three consecutive sold out concerts at Key Arena. Allow me to do the math. That's nearly 60,000 fans in a 78-hour time frame.

But these were no ordinary fans. These were hometown peeps. These were folks who'd heard or seen the pair rise from a local club act to global stars. And Wednesday night's performance wasn't just a show, it was a welcome home celebration. There was confetti, gold glitter, smoke bombs, pyrotechnics, and more confetti, smoke bombs and pyrotechnics.

The duo, which earned 7 Grammy nominations a week ago, began their 2-hour assault with the instrumental piece 'BomBom' followed by 'Ten Thousand Hours.'

Macklemore, wearing a metallic general's jacket complete with sash, shouted out to everyone, 'Welcome to night 2, my people!' The Capitol Hill resident spoke about touring all over the planet the past 12 months and hardly being home. 'There's no hamburger in the world fucking better than the Dick's Deluxe!' he yelled.

Before launching into a vibrant delivery of 'Thrift Shop,' Macklemore spotted a woman wearing a Washington State reindeer fur coat and asked her to send it to him on stage, where he put it on. 'Ahh, this is nice,' he said modeling it to the crowd.

More memorable were the 30 year-old's personal stories of struggle and success, including his candid confession about battling drugs, going to rehab and writing music in his parent's basement.

But perhaps the most important topic spoken about was Gay marriage, in which he reiterated that 10 states had legalized same-sex marriage in the past year, including Washington. 'It's a new day!' he said, proudly. He then boldly declared, 'Gay rights are human rights,' to which the entire audience, even parents with their small children and straight teenage boys, erupted in cheer. The woman behind me high-fived her grade school-aged son.

Macklemore's Gay marriage speech led to a fantastic rendition of 'Same Love,' featuring the stunning Mary Lambert, decked out in a long emerald green dress with luscious red locks. Incidentally, nobody was interested in 'Same Love' when it was first introduced to radio stations and sent out to various industry representatives, yet last week it earned a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.

'Can't Hold Us' was a blast and got everyone dancing, jumping up and down, stretching their arms to the ceiling and singing along loudly. Speaking of loudness, the audience was one of the noisiest and most enthusiastic that I've encountered in all my years of going to live performances. They came to party, and that's exactly what they did.

'White Walls,' which found Macklemore wearing a Mexican-style outfit, and 'Wings,' with a mini-chorus providing backup vocals, closed out the main portion of the concert. But there was more in store.

A two-song encore opened with a wild performance of 'And We Danced,' as Macklemore took on the alter ego of an English party animal with long spiky hair, shiny cape and sunglasses. The atmosphere in the arena was festive, as it had been all night, but at this point it was an all-out frenzy. 'Irish Celebration' had Macklemore running around with a giant Irish flag on stage, while a handsome Ryan Lewis in jeans and long black tee-shirt banged away on percussion on an elevated platform.

The night came to a finish with a reprise of 'Can't Hold Us.' Not often do artists play the same song twice in concert, but the Seattle duo treated everybody generously to another round of their big hit. It was chaos; the electricity in the room was beyond ecstatic.

This show had everything from colorful fireworks to blasting horn sections to slick choreography. But what it also had was lots of hometown flavor. These guys are so proud of where they come from, and they were excited to be back on their home turf. Having met through MySpace, as Macklemore jokingly described as 'Facebook for old people,' the hip hop pair went from barely having enough money to gas up their car for a show in Bellingham to performing sold out concerts at sports arenas in Europe, Australia, Asia and all over North America.

But it all started here for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. The road to a very successful career began in the Emerald City, and in some ways they still find it humbling that so many people now listen to their music.

'I can't believe we're playing 3 nights in a row!' Macklemore stated with amazement to the audience. The reality, however, is that these boys have hit the jackpot. They are superstars. They are global. And, they're invincible.

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