Concert Review: Vic Mensa @ MURAL Festival, June 7th

Excitement about Vic Mensa’s concert turned into a disappointment for many fans when his show on June 7th was cancelled. However, this cancellation came with a silver lining. MURAL Festival announced that Vic Mensa would join Playboi Carti and Pusha T as a surprise guest. At first, this sounded like a gift from the universe, until you realized that suddenly you were going to the festival.

Walking through the entrance arc, you understood that seeing your favorite artist was going to come with an effort. A first look at the plethora of people with mango on the stick in one hand and confusion in the eyes made you wonder if your desire to listen to Vic Mensa was worth it. But hey, now that you showed up, it was time to make the best of what you had.

The evening kicked off at 6 p.m. People who came to see Vic Mensa had no idea whether to sit somewhere on the pavement, or to claim their spot in the crowd. Eventually, they were rewarded for sticking around when Vic Mensa appeared on the stage at around 7:45. For the next 45 minutes, people forgot their sunburnt, peeling backs and crushed toes to enjoy the concert. Everyone was suddenly submerged in the universe of The Autobiography, his last album, with lyrics “Didn’t I, didn’t I…” carried around the festival by the wind. It seemed like by the time he started performing “16 Shots”, even the people who were not familiar with his work started jumping, and losing themselves to the count of “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11... 16 Shots”.

As the evening progressed, your planned Thursday concert turned into the model of Darwin’s Survival of the fittest. You experienced firsthand what it feels like to be one of the sardines in a tiny metal can. Unless you were one of the lucky ones at the front, the best way you could enjoy the show was to use your imagination, since you could barely see the artist. If you knew Vic Mensa’s work, then you realized that it was him on the stage. However, if you were unsure who you were listening to, your best bet was to ask your fellow sardines. This uncertainty reached its peak when people used technology to figure out who on earth was performing. Nothing looked more 2018 than people using the “zoom” function on their iPhone camera to see who is rapping. Some were running out with bruises, while others seemed to stick it out with Spartan determination, with Vic Mensa giving an energetic and fulfilling performance in the background.

If you are a Vic Mensa fan and wanted to hear his work, it was a good opportunity to see the glimpse of what his concert could have been like. It was not meant to be a full-fledged concert, so judging it as one will always result in a letdown. Despite the complaints about crowd management, this was a better deal than a completely cancelled show—after all, we still got to bump around to the music we love. Post concert, you could always have a conversation and bond over food with other attendees, because nothing brings people closer than the shared displeasure.