Reviews, thoughts, ramblings and so on…

Wiz Khalifa, The Olympia Theatre, Dublin – November 2011

Now, I know so far my blog has pretty much exclusively been concerts at venues in Dublin but I promise an array of crap will follow in the coming weeks. Apparently though, for now, concerts in Dublin is all I have been doing with my life (I certainly haven’t been doing anything productive anyway) so that’s all I can really write about at the moment.

In any case this week is about the Wiz Khalifa concert I attended with friends Kevin and Tomás in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin. For those of you that don’t know Wiz Khalifa is an American rapper whose most famous song is probably Black and Yellow (black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, you know what it is!…sorry, had to be done…See the video below for this song if you don’t know what it is) He’s pretty big in America but not quite in Ireland.
I first came across Mr.Khalifa during my year abroad in Boston in 2010. He entered in to my life in the form of Meng. Meng is a student at the college I attended in America, Boston College, and is a one of a kind character to say the least. He was all about his hip hop though so I trusted his judgement when he suggested Wiz Khalifa.  Wiz was pretty huge over there and his songs were played at nearly every party we went to. Most of the students who went abroad to America came back with some Wiz Khalifa on their iPod I would say. He wasn’t very well-known over here in Ireland yet but when me and Kevin (who had been in Boston too) heard he was playing in our humble little country we decided we may as well reminisce a bit and go see him. Tomás just came along ’cause he’s well up for the banter (on a side note he also paid for the hotel because he’s clearly rolling in it these days…Cheers Tomás!).

The journey to Dublin wasn’t too eventful. We did spend some time avoiding being killed by a mentalist driving a Nissan who was clearly on some drugs (I say clearly because he was smoking these very drugs as he drove) and encountering a family having a discussion outside our hotel about how their daughter, who was apparently about to be married, no longer wanted to actually get married. On second thought, it may have been a little eventful.
Arrival to the Hotel was followed quickly by arrival to the residents bar which in turn was followed by a few pints and a taxi straight in to the Olympia. At the Olympia we queued up in at least three queues before we located the correct one and were quite pleased when the three of us were the only people not searched on the way in. Skipping passed the sick on the stairs on the way up (apparently sick is an ever-present at gigs I go to) we eventually reached our seats high in the rafters of the theatre. From our perch we had an eagle-eye view of the stage and the DJs currently entertaining the crowd. It was at this point that we realised something: The reason we hadn’t been searched at the door. Everyone else….was about 12!!! We hadn’t been searched because we looked like these little kids responsible older brothers! We collected ourselves for a moment, scared some young fella in to minding the seats for the big lads, and resigned ourselves to the theatre bar until at least the support act came on.

We settled in to some ridiculously expensive pints at the bar, safe in the knowledge that we could simply enjoy our drinks while everyone else in the bar was rigorously questioned and checked for ID before they were allowed anywhere near the alcohol. From the bar the jokes started to roll.  Tomás was the butt of many of these jokes as he had the unfortunate job of being a teacher. Having young kids in the room made mocking his profession impossible to ignore. From our bar stools we made the observation that the DJs had now begun playing songs from albums that came out before 90% of the crowd had been born. We could only imagine that outside the bar there was a small collection of youngsters  jumping up and down (because it was cool to know the older rap songs and they remember their older siblings playing them from their room) and a sea of semi-confused faces concentrating instead on their Nintendo DS that Santa had brought them.
On the note of Nintendo, the stamp we got coming in to the venue was a stamp of old-fashioned, first gameboy-style, pixellated, black and white Mario. I doubt he was even recognisable to the masses in the Olympia that night. They would surely be more used to a big friendly 3D Italian plumber?

When we returned to our seats (which the young fella had done an excellent job of minding) the venue was now much fuller than it had been when we left. There was no sign of the age-related jokes drying up but now the jokes turned a little on Kevin who, it turned out, had a girlfriend who was a good 10 years older than the rest of the crowd at the concert. When Kev stopped and began to stroke his stubble we asked was he trying to think of a comeback. Kev’s response was simply: “No, I’m stroking my stubble, because I can grow stubble!”.

Barney Kids

This was actually the crowd at the concert...Barney is a Wiz Khalifa fan

After a while we started to feel more and more conspicuous. Not only were we a lot taller than most of the crowd but we also had remarkably deeper voices which seemed to cut through the shrill squeaks around us with an awkward, attention drawing ease. The dawning realisation was that our younger brothers and sisters would fit in better here than we did. To distract ourselves from this we started to look around for things to grab our attention. The first thing that caught my eye was the venue itself. It has the look about it that it once used to be seriously fancy, but now it’s slowly proving its age with botched-looking repairs not really fitting in with the decor (at least up on the top-tier balcony anyway). The next thing that caught my eye way the big chandelier hanging within touching distance of the balcony. Sure, it looked like it couldn’t support the weight of a fly if it happened to land on it, but god it made you want to swing from it. Alright, doing that comes with a severe risk of falling to your death but at that time many things seemed better than being in a room of young teenagers awkwardly listening to Jump Around by House of Pain, which only we knew the lyrics to. For actually watching the gig though the venue wasn’t bad. This may have been helped by the fact that there were no tall people to see over but I still think the Olympia isn’t a bad spot to watch a concert. Now, I don’t have any experience of the Olympia from anywhere other than the upper balcony so if anyone knows if its good, bad or indifferent from any of the other levels then please do let me know in comments.

Eventually the attention could not be distracted any further from the jumping, shouting, glitter-covered, drink-sneaking teenagers that had occupied the seats in front of us. Having aged them at around the same as my younger sister I drew a few conclusions. The first was that if my sister ever befriended someone like that I’d have her disowned. The second was that if my sister ever behaved like that herself I’d have her shot. The final conclusion was that if my sister ever dressed like that then I would have her suspended from that rickety chandelier. Now I know I sound old here once again but screw that they were ridiculous.

In any case the warm up act came on. I’m afraid the rant doesn’t stop just yet, it gets worse. Personally, I could have done without a warm up act at this point. I just wanted the main act on so I could enjoy it and go be part of a crowd my own age. For this reason I suppose the poor man never really stood a chance of being judged favourably by me but I’d like to think that this only made me exaggerate his already present mediocrity.

When he was eventually introduced to the crowd I think me, Kevin and Tomás all had the exact same thought: “What the f*** is a yellow wolf?”. What a yellow wolf is, it turns out, is a man put on the stage to annoy me personally. A yellow wolf is also not even a yellow wolf. It’s a “yelawolf”. Yep, that’s right, he’s gone ahead and spelled yellow as if he was pronouncing it in a thick, north side Cork accent. But he doesn’t have a Cork accent, he has an American one. This, I think, coupled with the fact that he was shouting swears and American slang in to a microphone over a heavy beat made his appeal to the teenagers in the room increase tenfold over his appeal to me. They seemed to be eating up every ghetto-slang-filled verse he was spitting.

I, in the meantime, was focusing more on his negatives. When I was a slightly younger boy myself I would most certainly have been jumping along with all of those around me. I’d have been perfectly content to be an American rapper in my head just for the few minutes I was mimicking the lyrics with one hand covering the crotch of my pants. Tonight, though, I was making my first return to the rap scene since I was about 17 and in watching it all as an outsider I found it impossible not to mock it relentlessly. Everything I had been so happy to be a part of watching 50 cent at the marquee  only a few years ago seemed so stupid to me now. I felt like grabbing the person next to me and shouting “stop jumping and waving your arms, and leave go of the crotch of your pants you’re only encouraging Yelawolf! Also, you’re white… I’m sorry… but you’re white and you look ridiculous!” (but then again Yelawolf is also white and he seems to be pulling off the rapper look even if he didn’t pull off the actual being a rapper part)


Here he is look....the yela-fella...lookin rapper-y...kind of

But getting back to Yellawolf’s negatives. Honestly, I think if he shouted “Dubliiiiiiiinnn!” one more time I was going to throw one of the smaller children at him. He also needs to stop saying “motherfu***er”. He seemed to use it in place of any given word in any given sentence and all the rest of us just had to fill in the gaps. This, of course, was no trouble to the 12 year olds in the audience who spend a lot of time filling in the gaps like this for homework every week. The same word also seemed to be included at least once per sentence in his raps. At one point he turned to the audience and said “How are all you motherf***rs doin up in this motherfu**er!?”. It’s not a motherfu**er, Mr.Wolf, It’s a concert hall. Now cop on.

He certainly played up to his audience though. He was talking about drinking like it was the wildest thing anyone has ever done in their life and he kept talking about doing loads of drugs (maybe he was the mentalist in the Nissan who nearly killed us on the road to Dublin earlier?). No one cares if you’re drinking and no one cares if you’re doing drugs. Also while we’re on about Yellawolf’s stories no one cares if your Mother is still growing weed illegally in Alabama except a bunch of easily excited young teenagers. I hope you feel validated by making the pre-pubescent cheer, you sound like a tool!
On top of this one of his songs was just him repeatedly shouting “Stand Up!”. The only time i stood up was to let the people sitting next to me out of the aisle.


Now, I may sound a bit harsh there and, to be honest, I’m most definitely being very harsh on the poor guy. My opinion of him may have been slightly shaded by the annoyance I was feeling towards the young teenagers around me at the time. To be fair he did have a very, VERY good DJ backing him up which made his part of the gig much more bearable for me. Yellawolf has also been recently signed by Eminem’s Shady Records. This, I take it, means that he must have some bit of talent about him. A lot more, at least, than I was willing to give him credit for after seeing him in the Olympia. I really did need to get all that out in a rant though. The thoughts running through my head watching Yelawolf needed to come out and, after all, this is a review of the night from my perspective and a rant was pretty much being constructed in my head for a large part of that night. It’s be an incomplete review without it. Also, for the record, the people weren’t exactly 12, that’s exaggeration. They were much younger than us though.

When Wiz Khalifa finally came on all of that was briefly put to one side. For a rapper I was really only going to see for the sake of reliving a few Boston-related memories he really did entertain me. Now I can’t claim to have known all of his songs (I actually only knew maybe two or three songs in the entire first half of the show) but the second half of the show was like he was taking song after song directly from the restricted selection of Wiz Khalifa tracks on my iPod. This really did send us out of the Olympia in a much better mood than we had been in for the majority of the night.

Considering I didn’t even know this man existed until about 12 months previously I still felt the decision to go see him was a good one overall. He played the tracks I wanted to hear; made me forget that I was attending a rap concert in a crèche; unearthed the desired memories in my head and sent me out in to the Dublin night with a smile on my face (which was definitely an achievement considering the middle part of my night). Wiz Khalifa definitely knows how to play a crowd and keep them entertained. He put in an energetic performance that got us all to our feet. From high in the rafters of the Olympia I found I finally had the distraction from the kind of crowd we were a part of and it was in the very thing the crowd was there to see. Needless to say, once the concert was over we were out the door as quick as we could manage and off to a night club to join our own crowd of jumping, shouting, glitter-covered, drink-sneakers. But at least they knew it was Mario stamped on our hands!

(Now, I know this isn’t really a Wiz Khalifa review more than it’s a rant about my night, young people and Yelawolf but to be fair these are the things I’m going to remember when I review this night in my own head. I never said my reviews would be orthodox!…Also, for the record while it did get hot and stuffy inside in the Olympia it was like a cool breeze compared to the Chili Peppers)


14 Responses to “Wiz Khalifa, The Olympia Theatre, Dublin – November 2011”

  1. Well this review has lead me to the conclusion to never and I mean never listen to yelawolf!

    Also, Kevin’s quote of “No, I’m stroking my stubble, because I can grow stubble!”, must have been a very impressive feat to the crowd based on the average age.

    • I am happy to see you will never have to go through that experience (if you can call it that)

      I won’t lie to you, Kevin’s beard stroking attracted more of a crowd than Yelawolf usually does.

  2. That “Yela” fella is the head off Eminem.
    I had something constructive to say but I forgot what it was.
    What’s with the orange? Could you not find a better theme, no?

  3. I read all of these posts in your voice in my head – they’re written exactly the same way as you tell stories, love it! Keep up the good work 🙂

  4. “The only time i stood up was to let the people sitting next to me out of the aisle.” baahaha, you make me lol “whattoreview guy”. Great job! hmm who knows though, maybe he those have some North Cork routes..

  5. Made someone lol can be ticked off my list for today. Brilliant!
    He has the look of a fella from the Northside doesn’t he? Haha

  6. Great blog! Very jealous, would love to have gone to his concert!

  7. Definitely had a few few lol’s reading this…awesome stuff!

  8. I can assure you Mike, I don’t think I will ever a) Befriend one, as they most probably do live in Dublin b) Dress like one, as glitter I would imagine is very itchy and c) Behave like one, as I don’t doubt that you would hang from the chandelier… So no need to disown,shoot or hang me from a chandelier! I also saw Mika’s concert from the floor which was very very good, and Two Door Cinema Club from the balcony which was epic.

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