In memory of Mac Miller.
September 7th sent a wave of shock through the music community. The untimely death of Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller left musicians and fans alike in a state of confusion and grief. But the beautiful thing about tragedy is its ability to bring a group of people closer together. Heightened emotions made for a Block Party unlike any other as the performers and audience channeled their grief into a beautiful experience all about living in the present.
Before the performance started, half the crowd mumbled about how they’d never heard of MIKE. By the time he took the stage though, it was impossible to tell that most of the audience didn’t know who he was. He started the show by introducing himself sincerely and shaking hands with everyone in the front row, making the show feel like more of a friendly gathering than anything else. A group of students, all different ages and interests, started to become one as MIKE pulled them in and tried to create a family for the night.
Raveena’s signature silky voice captivated the group, but what really stood out was the emotion in her performance. Towards the end, Raveena took a moment to address what was really going through her mind. With tears in her eyes, she talked about how weird it was knowing that she’d just hung out with Mac Miller a week earlier, and now he was gone. It was hard for her to keep herself together as she reflected on the beautiful soul she’d known and missed dearly. Her emotional rendition of ‘I Won’t Mind’ was dedicated to Miller and ended with a moment of silence. The beauty of the moment helped start the healing process — something everyone desperately needed that night.
The sold-out crowd could not handle their excitement when Saba hopped on stage. He brought the same amount of energy as he did for the thousands of people he performed for at Pitchfork Festival. The crowd played right back into the energy, jumping and making Afterhours genuinely shake, something unprecedented in previous shows in the tiny Starbucks-turned-concert-venue. Afterhours no longer felt like Northeastern’s half-assed attempt of a music space — it felt like an actual venue. Die-hard fans clung onto every word and shouted lyrics right back at Saba.
Clearly shaken by Mac Miller’s passing, Saba took a pause from the excitement to speak about his friend and fellow rapper, holding a moment of silence in his honor. Much like Raveena, his sincerity helped everyone move forward. As the show returned to its normal energy, he seemed happy to be in the moment with a group of people who cared about him and his music. He didn’t forget about Miller in the excitement of the performance, but he seemed to take in the happiness to forget about the grief he was dealing with at the moment.
The unity the show created was incredible. Between the show reaching capacity almost instantly, an audience who deeply cared about the performance, and a tragedy that brought everyone closer together, Block Party was truly unlike any other Afterhours performance I’ve ever seen.
All photos by Ingrid Angulo