Anyone having more fun than Post Malone?
The woolly bearded, heavily tattooed pop-rapper spent Saturday night running around like a kid at a rented amusement park on his massive, three-track stage at the Climate Pledge Arena, shaking hands, smashing and attempting goofball dance moves with fun and abandon every cowboy hat that found its way onto the stage during the sold-out show.
After dancing dizzily through one of his tackier new hits, “I Like You (A Happier Song),” Malone threw his hands in the air and from under one of those found cowboy hats, the first thing that flashed many “posty” was that infectious million-dollar grin -Chants erupted among the crowd.
In public, the Bud Light pitchman, who arrived at his Seattle party in jeans and a Pearl Jam t-shirt, has the easy-going manner of a man you’d love to have a beer and play video games with. And the singer/rapper had plenty of reasons to be comfortable as he cruised through his Twelve Carat tour. Malone’s joy ride in North America follows the release of his fourth album, Twelve Carat Toothache, in June.
It’s perhaps the overtly pop-oriented collection of the man introduced to the world as the cornrowed “White Iverson” who burst onto the scene with SoundCloud buzz in 2015. The album was another commercial hit for Malone, nonetheless, getting a little lost in discourse amid a wave of superstar pop records. All in all, Twelve Carat Toothache is like a blockbuster action flick that you could fall asleep in the middle of before being jolted awake by a suspenseful, explosive car chase. But sifting through his sonically rich catalog, there were no snoozes during Malone’s roughly 90-minute set of emotional extremes.
An almost cute twist on Candy Paint chased out the moodier Psycho – two favorites from 2018’s pop star salve Beerbongs & Bentleys – which came out brighter than pink sprinkles on a cupcake, with an equally sugary hook. Still, Malone is often at his most compelling when he plunges into the depths of despair, turning somber-toned songs into epic, stage-worthy drama.
Despite his rise in the hip-hop world, Malone has proven to be equally adept at pop and rock music. Malone took the stage on Saturday amid plumes of smoke that shrouded his lovable, muppet-degenerate face, and buckled like a thunderous emo-rocker leaning against his mic stand on drumless opener “Reputation.”
“You’re the superstar, talk uuuuuuussss,” he moaned with overwhelming strength. Maybe it was his Pearl Jam shirt or the grunge-heavy mix pumped through the PA before he took the stage, but more than ever the line evoked the words of Kurt Cobain, one of Post’s musical heroes “Smells like Teen Spirit”. .”
Later, during a brief acoustic run, Malone pays more direct homage to Pearl Jam with a standout “Last Kiss” cover. What started out as campfire vibes and trembling vibrato evolved into a raspy, full-bodied roar that Ed and the boys would surely have approved of.
Even without a band or any supporting cast, Malone’s dizzying, carefree stage presence was magnetic enough to captivate the large crowd, with six disc-shaped lighting fixtures shouldering the moody load. Sometimes they would act like some kind of alien transport device ready to beam Posty back to the mothership while he howled away in his otherworldly chant.
After squeezing “Love/Hate Letter to Alcohol” — a partial co-writing with Robin Pecknold of Seattle’s Fleet Foxes that tells the saga of a lackluster evening with lyrics that don’t match the song’s musical intensity — Malone left nicely over in Take What You Want, an almost equally unlikely collaboration with metal god Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott. For the fiery headbanger, Post unleashed a series of guttural screams and blew half his pyro budget for his biggest rock star moment of the night. It certainly surpassed the deliberate (and unconvincing) guitar smash that followed booming trap anthem “Rockstar,” a guitar-less banger that’s one of his biggest and tastiest tracks. (The internet bros who toasted Phoebe Bridgers’ staged guitar thrashing on “SNL” last year might want to put it on YouTube.)
Malone’s rise to the upper echelons of pop music hasn’t been without its share of critics. But however one thinks of the singing-and-rapping pop star — who has spoken on multiple occasions of the “dark times” he’s been going through over the past few years — few can pull off a heartbreaking catharsis quite as much as it does.
Opener Roddy Ricch, who slid onstage with Malone through their joint pandemic comeback single “Cooped Up,” didn’t disappoint either. The sleek LA rapper looked like one of hip-hop’s next potential superstars after landing two of 2020’s biggest hits — his creaky car stereo hit “The Box” and the equally inescapable “Rockstar” with DaBaby. Last year’s follow-up Live Life Fast was a sophomore disappointment, but early in the night Ricch was cool and confident as he tries to bounce back with his mixtape Feed Tha Streets 3, due out later this month course to come.