Not only did P.O.S sell out the Entry in a minute flat. Not only did he release his fifth album, a hailstorm of kinetic energy, vacuum-packed rhymes, and one of the best tracks of his career (“Sleepdrone/Superposition”). Not only did he make it through kidney disease to get there. But he sold out the Entry, released his fifth album, survived, and provided a platform for a host of guest artists to win over the crowd. That’s impressive.
I spent my Friday night running back and forth between First Avenue’s Mainroom and the 7th St. Entry, catching nearly all of the first night of The Current’s 12th birthday party (today, doors open at 7 p.m. for night two) as well as P.O.S’s Chill, dummy release show. The talent I’d seen before floored me; the talent I’d never seen floored me, too, especially Dwynell Roland and his remarkable “Get Down” guest verse.
Before P.O.S, Dwynell Roland, J. Plaza, and Lady Midnight warmed up the crowd, literally — when I stepped into the Entry during Plaza’s full-throttle set, a blast of body heat hit my chest. That’s why we got tickets, right? P.O.S in the Entry was always going to be a raw, sweaty time. Roland looked elated to be on stage, playing bass-heavy, bombastic rap with producer/DJ Travis Gorman. J. Plaza worked with a half-shot voice because of recent shows and illness, but that only made his set feel more real and urgent. DJ Ander Other got the crowd hyped with post-hardcore and hip-hop favorites, and Lady Midnight’s spacey R&B, although perhaps too slow-paced for the show’s third slot, raised goosebumps.
Once P.O.S took the stage, a troupe of guest artists helped out with new Chill, dummy songs (and one slightly older track, Doomtree’s “Spill Me Up,” which Sims returned a favor to perform. See the setlist below for who played exactly what). After Gerald helped sing “Get Ate,” P.O.S told the crowd he’d worked with “lots of people you don’t know. But I know ’em, and they’re f—in’ dope.” Later, he added, “All my heroes for the record are women,” including Lady Midnight and Manchita (who features on “Infinite Scroll”).
As artists can do when there’s no barricade or photo pit, P.O.S took the chance to talk with his crowd face-to-face, discussing his lack of dance skills (“I would give up rapping to be the best skater and be able to dance”), Richard Spencer (“Punch Nazis”), and why he left Rhymesayers to release Chill, dummy on Doomtree Records (“It got to the point where my friends and I built a record label and I hadn’t put s— out on it”). He invited one man onstage to model a Chill, dummy glow-in-the-dark shirt, and he bantered with DJ Fundo between nearly every song (they also had an “aww” moment when Fundo complimented “P.O.S Is Ruining My Life.” “I’m going to shake your hand about it,” P.O.S replied. The duo then shook hands).
The crowd devoured every song, always in tune with P.O.S’s punk attitude and Team The Best Team mindset. He’s 35, he reminded us a few times, and he looked beat by 2 a.m. But P.O.S gave his all, supporting new faces along the way, and the crowd gave it right back.
Cecilia Johnson is a staff writer for the Local Current blog. Emmet Kowler works with lights all day and takes photos after dark.
Born A Snake
Let It Rattle
Drumroll (We’re All Thirsty)
Get Ate (feat. Gerald)
Bully (feat. Moncelas Boston and RP Hooks)
Optimist (We Are Not For Them)
Pieces/Ruins (feat. Dwynell Roland)
Faded (feat. Lady Midnight)
P.O.S Is Ruining My Life
Spill Me Up (Doomtree song; featuring Sims)
Wearing A Bear
Lock-picks, Knives, Bricks And Bats
Fuck Your Stuff