Playboi Carti brings punk rap vibes to sold-out Shrine Expo Hall

Playboi Carti Shrine 2018 mainbar

There are few concerts where you’ll find yourself drenched in sweat after just about a 45-minute set. Playboi Carti is one such case.

With the last minute addition of Sheck Wes being added to Carti’s opener list, and Carti’s last album being named Die Lit whilst featuring him stage diving into a punk-rock crowd, there was no doubt in my mind that this would be one of the most insane shows I have ever attended.

Somehow, my expectations were exceeded. Playboi Carti managed to sell out the Shrine Expo Hall. This is quite impressive considering that the venue holds a max capacity of over 6,000 people. However, the massive amount of attendees did come with a toll; the Shrine Expo Hall gets unbearably hot. While there is slight air conditioning, it’s clearly not enough to compensate for the waves of people in the crowd. The venue got so hot, in fact, that Carti himself asked if everyone was alright from the heat. It’s clear that Playboi Carti truly brought the heat to LA.

There was a particularly long duration between the end of Duwap Kaine’s set, and the beginning of Sheck Wes’s. While it was a bit annoying having to wait over 30 minutes for the next performance, Sheck Wes immediately made it up once he found himself on the stage.

Sheck, wearing his ghastly Mud Boy mask, promptly got the crowd moving. Having a discography featuring only just five songs seemed like the least of Sheck Wes’s worries. And of course, “Mo Bamba”, Sheck’s breakout single, was a highlight for the entire show. The crowd’s energy was absolutely electric. And while his set was definitely short, it was by no means disappointing.

The Shrine went dark, and viewers were graced by the sounds of gunshots and the Emergency Alert System siren.

Carti would like you to believe that he’s part of the emerging punk rap genre. Solely based on his music, I was skeptical of his remarks, even being a Carti fan myself. However, his fanbase and shows prove to undoubtedly validate that claim.

Once “R.I.P Fredo” blasted into the ears of each individual in the crowd, the energy became completely ballistic. Mosh pits immediately formed, and throughout the show, each would become bigger than the previous. Carti, boasting an orange crewneck sweatshirt, shared the crowd’s liveliness. He jumped around on stage and shouted his lyrics at his fans, which fueled atmosphere even further.

Carti did not find himself performing alone for very long. Seemingly out of nowhere, Tyler The Creator ran on stage to perform “Telephone Calls” alongside Playboi Carti. Tyler absolutely killed the track, as he always does, and presumed to walk off stage afterward to watch the show from the balcony.

I was content with seeing just Tyler the Creator as a special guest. However, Carti was not. Once again, Pi’erre Bourne and Nav made an unforeseen appearance on stage to perform “Minute”. Nav seemed right at home, lighting the crowd up even though everyone was fatigued and burnt out from the previous unhinged hour and a half.

He stayed on stage for one full performance of “Wanted You” (excluding Uzi’s verse) and then left after the chorus of “Champion”. Carti proceeded to finish off the night with a cover of XXXTentacion and Ski Mask the Slump God’s “Take a Step Back”, as a tribute to X’s death which occurred earlier in June.

The way Playboi Carti left the stage did make for an awkward ending, as it was unclear to many people that the concert had just ended. And while I left the Shrine Expo Hall, slightly disappointed that Lil’ Yachty did not show up as he announced he would on social media, Playboi Carti’s Los Angeles show was undoubtedly a success.

Words by Cole Pegula
Photos by Thane Fernandes