“This shit is a motherfucking moment to celebrate,” local rapper G-Eazy cried over the opening bars of “Stay High” at his show at the New Parish in Oakland on Saturday evening. With the recent release of his album These Things Happen — which reached No. 2 on the iTunes album chart and is predicted to reach No. 3 on the Billboard 200 — G certainly has something to celebrate, and he’s bringing his fans along for the ride.
After a signing at Rasputin Music in Berkeley on Thursday, G-Eazy welcomed fans to a free “Hometown Fan Appreciation Show” at the New Parish, which he said was the only venue that allowed him to play back when he was coming up. His young supporters turned up in droves, with the line wrapping around the building and stretching back several blocks, much like they did at the signing.
Dressed in his signature black-on-black and sporting tortoise-shell sunglasses, G opened his one-hour set with a track “Downtown Love” off the new album, before transitioning into fan-favorite “Lady Killers.” In stark contrast to the cocky persona voiced through his tracks, the Berkeley High School alumnus was abundantly gracious and appreciative onstage, stopping after almost every song to thank his team and the hometown crowd. During “Stay High,” he swapped out a lyric for “Mama, we made it!” and invited his mom on stage for a hit off his spliff. With appearances by frequent collaborator Devon Baldwin, friend and fellow rapper Marty Grimes and even the kid who plays a young G-Eazy in the “Far Alone” video, among others, the show highlighted the extended group of people who contributed to the success of the new album.
In the spirit of getting back to his Bay Area roots, G included performances of tracks from his back catalog, from the Tennis-sampling “Waspy” to the Onra-driven “Fried Rice” to the sound-defining “The Outsider.” The newer songs, particularly “Lotta That,” improved when played live and without additional artists. G ditched the monotone of his recorded music for a higher-energy, more vocally expressive performance that showed that, as strong as they are on the album, his songs have more of an impact when played live.
Despite some flubbed lyrics on “Hang Ten” and nearly being swallowed up by a stage dive gone bad, G executed a polished and high-energy set. Whether fame is on the horizon or not, the turnout Saturday proved that the rapper can always pull a crowd when he comes home to the Bay.