G-Eazy returns to where it started in LA at The Roxy

Wednesday afternoon, my homie Shirley from way back when we both lived in the Bay tweeted asking who in LA likes G-Eazy and is in LA tonight? I hit her up immediately and got the +1 to see the Bay Area hero play an intimate show at The Roxy a few hours later — a show I somehow didn’t know about until then. Read Shirley’s recap of the show at her FOMO Blog.

G-Eazy would recount during his show that his first gig in LA was at The Roxy, and how selling out the venue back then was ultimately what put him on the rollercoaster he’s been on the last five years, rising to the top of the charts and selling out massive venues across the country.

I’m from the Bay and I got turned onto G-Eazy by one of my oldest friends from the Bay when I had tickets to Life is Beautiful 2014 in Las Vegas, where I used to live and my friend lived. He said he was down to see whatever “girly music” I listen to as long as I promised to see G-Eazy, and I instantly became a fan. In a world where guys like Tory Lanez rap one word out of every verse and yell “throw your hands up” over a backing track and crowdsurf, it was refreshing to see an up-and-coming rapper actually rap all the words live without many backing tracks.

As G-Eazy’s profile has risen, he’s become an easy target for people who consider themselves music purists. If you look at the Coachella subreddit, the mere mention of his name as a possible inclusion on the lineup causes groans. I had a blast seeing him in one of the tents at Coachella 2016 and think he has scaled his production and level of performance upwards from there.

I didn’t love his last album When It’s Dark Out from 2015, but I am really digging this latest one that just dropped last week The Beautiful & Damned. My favorite G-Eazy songs overall have been older tracks with more substance (that he rarely performs live) like “Marilyn”, but also recent non-album cuts like “Running” that excellently samples Gabriel Garzon-Montano.

I think it’s easy for people to dismiss G-Eazy because of songs that are about “fucking bitches” and that kind of thing, but there’s a lot of substance in what is on The Beautiful & Damned, an album that feels like more of a concept record in that it deals with the idea of G-Eazy the persona and Gerald the person, and how those two people clash and differ.

Seeing G-Eazy perform these new songs live on Wednesday was pretty great. Apparently, fans gained access to this free show by buying his album and tickets to a show on his upcoming tour — I wish more artists did this. It was a good preview to see how the new songs hit live, although I imagine at his upcoming shows the production will be ramped up.

The lights were certainly on par with the lights that would be used in a 2,000 capacity venue, as they blinded me nearly every time they flashed. I swear, the difference between cool people and not-cool people is how cool people are able to act like the lights aren’t bothering their vision, whereas when they hit me in the face I look like someone who is about to be hit in the face by a foul ball.

G-Eazy brought out Zoe Nash at the start of the show to perform the lead/title track from the new record, and later Marc E. Bassy. G-Eazy spent much of the night serenading his girl Halsey, who was up in the VIP balcony at the show looking pretty into it. She later joined him on stage for their radio hit “Him & I”, and if I’m being honest they look like they fit pretty well as a couple.

G-Eazy treated fans to some of his older songs from These Things Happen like “I Mean It” but focused mostly on the new record. I’ll be honest — I expect G-Eazy to be headlining many second-tier festivals in 2018 behind this material. It’s been pretty wild to follow his career the last four years, as he went from playing smaller venues to headlining the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View last summer. I think he’s earned it, though the haters will disagree.