Future Overcomes the Monday Curse at Regency Ballroom, 6/30/14
Gabe Meline Future at the Regency Ballroom
w/ Rico Love, Test & Zona Man
Monday, June 30, 2014
Monday can be the cruelest night of the week. Certainly, that initially seemed to be the case for Future's show at the Regency Ballroom last night, when after the tepid openers (who drew an audience reaction somewhere between "What should I eat for breakfast tomorrow morning?" and "I am watching a nature documentary"), the venue remained half-full. For one of the most unique voices in rap right now, and for the scattered fans who clearly spent two or three hours getting gussied up for the event, it felt a little underwhelming.
But Future, touring on his more-hits-than-misses sophomore album Honest, has a way of fighting off slumps. Hell, any artist with the sheer quantity of hooks as Future has a leg up in a live situation, and the unifying experience of standing amongst hundreds of like-minded fans, singing said hooks in unison with contagious optimism, can turn any staid Monday night into a party.
Such was the case last night. While strobe lights blared through the haze (partially created from the fog machine, partially created from you-know-what), and as the venue suddenly filled up to near-capacity, Future wasted no time getting to his hits. "Karate Chop," which has all but defined a new era in rap flow, came second in the set. Current hit "Honest" followed soon after, and its one-two punch with the Kanye West duet "Trophy" came across as an energetic highlight.
Under the lights, Future worked a crowd with the best of them, strutting to the furthest reaches of the stage, reaching out to within inches of people's phone cameras, and leaping constantly in the air in his pristine white sneakers as if high on his own music. The man's tabloid presence still focuses on his upcoming marriage to Ciara, but more hope lives in his music than in most modern-day vows of matrimony, and he sells it like a rap game evangelist -- executing invisible pull-ups on a bar that isn't there, rhythmically covering his face as if blocking punches from Jake LaMotta, the whole bit.
In a world where Future's current hit "Move That Dope" has more than 20 million views on YouTube, it's not crazy to think that he might sell out a small hall in San Francisco. But even in the back of the Regency, the majority of people danced and sang along, loudly. This was especially true for the hits that Future's guested on: YC's "Racks," Rocko's "U.O.E.N.O.," Lil' Wayne's "Love Me," and the Rich Gang track "Tapout." A beautiful piece of songwriting penned by Future himself, Rihanna's "Loveeeeeee Song" had the crowd hypnotized, and when the beat for Ace Hood's "Bugatti" dropped, the Loma Prieta earthquake made a 25-year delayed aftershock visit to Van Ness.
"I can't leave the stage without doin' this song right here," the 30-year-old announced at the end of the night, and the show ended with an explosive "Sh¡t," a standout blast of confidence from Honest. No encore followed, but none was needed. Hell, it was Monday night, after all.
Critic's Notebook: On record, Future's voice cracks at that impossibly perfect moment over and over again; when it happens under Autotune's spell, it's unreal. Unfortunately, this delicate nuance was clouded in the live setting, as expected.