Concert review: Yelawolf (with Double B, the ChalkBoyz, Brett Gretzky and others) bring freestyle fire to Plush, Monday, June 4

facebook.com/yelawolf / Todd Cooper

Someone told me the last time Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros were here they spent most of their set making fun of St. Louis for not being a real city. Luckily for them, the zeros were nowhere to be found Monday night at Plush.

A gaggle of St. Louis hip-hop artists torched the stage before headliner Yelawolf fought fire with fire. If this reviewer gets any names wrong it’s because he’s been out of the game longer than a guy trying to beat Contra on only three lives.

Though billed as an 18+ show, a little kid no older than 12 was the first to move the biggest crowd I’ve seen yet at Plush. Invited on stage by the night’s MC, he got the crowd’s hands waving to classic Wu-Tang.

Double B took over the stage first. They made sure everyone knew they do not give an expletive, but they repeatedly asked if the crowd gave an expletive. Judging from the many hands and individual fingers in the air much of the crowd gave an expletive. Then the mic was passed to Saint Orleans. The Saint proceeded to work the crowd effortlessly. He pulled everyone in closer to the stage and vibed out to the sound.

Then there were the ChalkBoyz. Taking the stage looking like an oversized “Weekend at Bernie’s” they bounced the crowd and their bellies in unison. With their laid-back approach and attire they could be the guys standing next to you ordering a Whopper. So watch what you say because that guy could spit your face off…or be on bath salts.

Following the ChalkBoyz was the skinnier and faster Brett Gretzky. The up-kick in tempo was a welcome dichotomy. Neither of the two MC’s stopped ricocheting around the stage for their entire set. Both had energy and words in abundance and probably could have gone twice as long as their set length.

But if everyone got to play for as long as they wanted Yelawolf would have never been able to take the stage.

Dressed in a black fedora, black glasses, a black jacket and black pants with tattoos creeping out from every end of stitching, Yelawolf rolled out to ecstatic applause. Yela ran through not just his hits but other artists’ as well.

In the middle of his set he paused to bound through a few bars of artists he credited as his greatest influences. Running the gamut from Johnny Cash to Metallica the only genre he didn’t seem to touch on was dubstep much to the pleasure of many an ear. He also took a minute to recognize the recently-departed MCA of the Beastie Boys.

Though he might sound like it on recordings, Yelawolf proved he is not a lyricist whose skill comes from Pro Tools editing. He comfortably killed every syllable just as it appears on record. As he said in his freestyle, picking a fight with him is like putting Nikes on a cheetah.

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