I got approved to cover this show the day of. I was in a hurry to get up to San Francisco at the end of the work day, so I didn’t really have much time to think about what I was going to encounter or what kind of show I was going to experience. I had seen Jake Miller once, but it was at a festival, so his set was relatively shorter.
Up until Monday evening, I had no idea how dedicated of a fan base Jake Miller had. I knew he was popular, but this was just ridiculous. For a small club like Slims in San Francisco, where the rapper/singer performed to a completely wall-to-wall packed house on Monday, the production value and energy was off the wall.
I think the best part of watching this performance, though, was observing that Miller knows who he is. He’s a rapper. His songs are serious and have moments of humor, but he is not trying to be something that he isn’t, an aspect of any rapper than can become their major downfall. For example, a couple years ago, I saw an opener at a small club show in San Francisco. He performed hip-hop music, but to this day, it was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen. The kid was trying SO hard to come off as “gangster”, and it’s really hard to do that when you look like you just came from white, middle-class suburbia, and your raps are far from being genuine or relatable.
Jake Miller didn’t have this problem. He has constructed his identity, both lyrically and musically, in a way that’s so entertaining, inspiring, and energizing to watch, all at the same time. The inspiring moments of the show (the opener “Lion Heart”, “A Million Lives”) were incredibly uplifting and heartfelt. The more tongue-in-cheek moments of the show (“Shake It”) were just, well, fun. Miller also pulled off a solid cover of “Uptown Funk” in middle of the set. I wasn’t too sure if it would work, but he pulled it off.
Two other unquestionably notable moments of the show were the performances of “Ghost” and “Collide”. The energy went those came into play, particularly during “Collide”, was indescribable. In other words, you had to be there. Writing out a recap can only do so much for certain moments of a live show.
The openers didn’t disappoint either. Alex Angello, a highly-anticipated pop act at the moment really surprised me. Angello mixed DJing skills (where his song selection was mainly amped-up pop/EDM tracks and remixes) with his own vocal compositions and choreography. I’m going to give it a year, but this kid is going to be headlining venues in the United States next year. Just you wait. The second opener was the very talented Jasmine V., a Bay Area native who has been opening the entire tour along with Angello. Accompanied by a DJ (her brother; the passion for music runs in the family!) and two backup dancers, her set lasted about a half hour, filled with pop/hip-hop collaborations and beautiful vocal melodies.
If you missed Jake Miller’s “Dazed and Confused” Tour when it came through your area this summer, you missed one hell of a party. If you are living in the Anaheim area and have a chance to attend the show tomorrow, I’d definitely do it. (…and go to Disneyland since you’re right there, of course.)
This has been another Shameless Promotion.