Macklemore kicked off BottleRock weekend Wednesday night with 10,000 Hours off The Heist album; flaunting melodic parts writing and upbeat lyrics paired with an undeniably stirring beat. Following the energy, he took the front of the stage addressing first day attendees yelling, “Bottle Rooooock!”
Afterwards a familiar tune of a very different genre comes on—Macklemore’s sampling of The Killer’s All These Things That I’ve Done for Life is Cinema. Though for the live show, he offered almost a remix, leaving the crowd wildly singing along, “I’ve got soul but I’m not a soldier!”
He proceeds to divulge his love for Cadillacs, a widespread trait via his song White Walls. Exhibiting his aptitude for quick rhymes, White Walls also sports his token dominant melodic vocal synth hooks and a slow moving bass line.
Going back to his audience, Macklemore pumps up the crowd saying, “The people of Napa have incredible style!” He then proceeded to take and try on a faux fur coat from a member of the front row—the notorious image of Macklemore and his “Napa Valley Wolf Jacket.” Later on the wolf jacket is allowed to crowd surf.
Reverting back to club rap roots, he hit viewers with his party banger Thrift Shop, causing the masses to furiously partake in the shake.
“He’s very original,” said Olivia Donald, a devoted fan of five years from Macklemore’s own Seattle. “I love that he supports original thinkers. He goes against the norm…he supports the people that are not normal.”
Accordingly, he follows mid set with a speech: “We are in a very interesting time in American history…the biggest civil rights movement of our generation. I believe that no government, no state, no institution, no religion, no person can tell you that who you love is right or wrong.”
Macklemore delved into marriage equality, endearingly reppin’ the LGBT community: “…love is prevailing around the world…I believe in equality.”
He transitions into the song Same Love offering insight into predispositions, equality, and the hardships of being different:
“Some would rather die than be who they are. When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless, rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen. I might not be the same but that’s not important. No freedom till we’re equal. Damn right I support it.”
Through his continual support, he makes a good point: “A certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all but it’s a damn good place to start. No law’s gonna change us. We have to change us.”
In the song, a line stands out: “If I was gay, I would think that hip hop hates me.”
It was beautiful to see the movement on a main stage at a major festival, garnering so much support, and within the hip hop genre.
“If you believe in equality for all human beings in the world put your hands in the air like this,” Macklemore yelled.
Rainbow balloons shot out against a sea of waving arms, all in support.
The second half of the set was indisputably more amped with a number of heavy hitters to get the crowd moving with loads of bass and trumpet accompaniment.
For his encore, he brought out his alter ego “Sir Raven Bowie,” British son of Samuel L. Jackson and Lady Gaga, childhood friend of Usher…and dance phenomenon. He explodes on stage with a glitter cape and blonde curled wig belting dark vampire opera vocals (perhaps that’s his British accent), offering a drag meets hip hop flair.
However, he certainly makes for one fabulous super hero diva, air humping on stage, chanting, “I will dance I will break that ass off.”
Macklemore’s confidence in not taking himself too seriously, while addressing societal, political, and emotional issues, is what makes him stand out – and makes it clear why he made it to #2 on Billboard album 200 charts. He is able to fit in with standard hip hop prospects, but also offers moments of sentiment and clarity, reminding us – he’s a real person.