Last night Vic Mensa brought his politically charged raps to House Of Vans for a free show. It was 90 degrees in Chicago, and the venue had the doors open with some weak fans blowing from above, making the place a sweat lodge by the time a few hundred people showed up. The place was ready to blow, just waiting for someone to light the fuse. Mensa came in with a big book of matches ready to go.
Long hailed as one of Chicago’s best up-and-coming musicians, his ability as a live performer is often overlooked. His shows are as much about speaking the truth to people as it is to entertain, and he speaks with urgency on things like police brutality, a common theme throughout the night.
Vic hit the stage in a bloodied baseball jersey that read “FACE OFF,” with “Where Is My Mind” written on the left side of his face. Always on the move, trying to give everyone in the crowd all the energy and love they were giving him, Vic was forced to stop the show a couple of times. Once because an argument broke out and he threw out the instigator. That lead to a sincere speech about safe spaces and wanting his shows to be harassment-free (as all shows should be). The second time someone was having a hard time (either from drinking too much or the heat, I couldn’t tell).
Despite the interruptions, Vic kept things moving quick. He hit a lot of fan favorites and even broke out a new one called “Get Rowdy” to let people blow off some steam. He even dove into the crowd and got passed around a little bit on that one.
This was my first visit to House Of Vans this year, but they have a stacked lineup for the summer, including Princess Nokia on June 8th and Unknown Mortal Orchestra in July. Check out their website for a full schedule and RSVP info (all the shows are FREE!)