Implying that Rae Sremmurd’s show at the Metro Theatre was a slow-boil affair would be doing a great misservice to the group. Although it’s true the gig got wilder and wilder with every track the duo performed, proceedings began with the pot bubbled over and the smoke alarms going off. In other words: the show started at eleven and only amped up from there. In other words: armed with a joint, a bottle of Hennessy, Khalif “Swae Lee” Brown and Aaquil “Slim Jimmy” Brown, spat out a set so intoxicatingly primal it threatened more than once to transform into total anarchy.
In other words: they slayed.
The set was a lean hour, and comprised of nothing but the songs the fans wanted to hear. There was no filler in sight – no scraped together covers, or B sides, or deep cuts from forgotten mixtapes – and the set was brilliant precisely because it was so lean. Initially dressed in tight fitting shirts and jackets, but eventually dressed in nothing but their jeans and a thick layer of sweat, the Browns proved to be hypnotic frontmen, dashing up and down the length of the stage and blowing great plumes of liquor into the air while barking out anthems like Unlock The Swag and Lit Like Bic.
Rae Sremmurd’s genius has always centred around their understanding that repetition is perfection, and the audience chanted along to the hypnotic and grinding No Flex Zone with an insistence that eventually became almost hysterical. It’s a pretty amazing thing to see a bobbing, throbbing crowd shout ‘no flex – zone!’ until their voices go hoarse, and the wide grins on the Browns’ faces seemed to imply they were lapping up every moment themselves.
At times it appeared impossible that the Browns could sustain the energy of the room, but they always did, managing to amp up the crowd even when they seemed at their most exhausted. “Who’s drunk?” Khalif enquired, at one point, before staggering backwards as the room enthusiastically bellowed back. “Well, if you’re not,” he continued, “go getchaself a shot.” And a significant number did, rushing towards the bar, determined to impress the idol at the front of the stage.
The show didn’t much wind up as it did totally disintegrate, with the Browns lurching through a brilliant rendition of No Type that had the entire sweaty mosh pit singing along. With their phones out, recording the audience who in turn were recording them, the Browns led the audience to the point of total chaos and then suddenly and miraculously stopped, turning on their heels and marching away, but not before prompting the room to bellow ‘Sremm Life!’ at the top of their lungs. In the aftermath, the lights didn’t immediately go up. There were a few moments of hot, wet darkness, as we the audience turned and tried to look at each other, our mouths agape, glaring through the shade, our eyes wide. Stunned.