March 22nd at Great Scott
By: Becca Pariente
It might be remembered that Wednesday, March 22nd, was perhaps one of the windiest, most unpleasant nights ever, and after an overly complicated journey to Great Scott I was ready to have my spirits lifted. LA based group KOLAJ opened the night, consisting of lead vocalist Teesa Houston backed by an electric guitarist and a keyboardist. Emanating confidence and enthusiasm from the moment she stepped on stage, Teesa belted out their mellow and infectious dance songs with a powerful and controlled voice. Performing songs like “Hitchhike” and “Hold My Own”, they genuinely enjoyed themselves and interacted with the subliminally eased audience; their laid back beats were more than enough to get people moving.
KOLAJ definitely pulled the audience out of its shell, but it was clear everyone was still holding back and saving their energy for the main act. Watching eagerly as the sound tech and drummer set up on stage, we were suddenly shocked awake as the drummer launched into a beautifully destructive solo intro. By the time Quinn came on stage, myself and the rest of the crowd was itching to dance to his breezy but lively style of pop hip hop. Dissipating any memory of the wretchedly cold weather outside, he immediately flowed into fan favorite, “Another Day in Paradise,” with incredible energy that the audience wasted no time in reciprocating. I was at this show alone and a little self conscious about the closeness that Great Scott forces on the audience; all of that was forgotten the moment he started performing. Quinn’s tropical and spirited sound is an immediate mood booster and allowing myself to fall into the celebratory energy of the room was easy. Earnestly thanking the crowd in between every track, Quinn’s obvious delight with performing kept morale high throughout the night. Rolling through his set, every song Quinn performed was filled with zest and vitality, his selection ranging from his well loved album work to a cover of Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue”. His voice was not as finessed live but this was made up by the fact that he put so much into his rapping performance. Songs like “Fight Song” which I admittedly found tiresome when I heard them through my headphones, completely transformed after watching Quinn perform them. There was a raw, emotional aspect that can’t be translated to his studio tracks and has changed the way I listened, with no doubt the rest of the audience will listen to him from here on out.
Indulging in performing his most recent singles “Straightjacket” and “Make Time,” which at the time hadn’t been released yet, Quinn delved into complicated relationships and showed that he’s exploring new lyrical depths. Quinn also has a creative approach in his performing, smoothly incorporating lines from “Ignition (Remix)” halfway through his song “Bootleggin’”, followed by chants of “Cash me outside howbow dah?”. In his final closing song, “New Wave”, he seamlessly rolled into his well known “Riptide” cover; the final cherry on top of Quinn’s vibrant show.
Humbled and honored by the fact that the Boston show was one of the only sold out shows in his tour, Quinn XCII insisted, “It means the world to me” before carrying into his encore of “Kings of Summer”. I managed to spot him as he rushed out of the venue; he had to pull himself away from the loving crowd and was clearly sad to do so.