As I walked towards the end of the line at West Hollywood’s Troubadour, I was confused about what I was actually seeing. Was this a John Mayer show? It seemed that all of Los Angeles’ sex-crazed teenyboppers had shown up to the sold-out show just to see T. Mills, a local L.A. rapper. Standing in line and watching girls glare at each other in envy of one another’s distasteful club attire, I asked those around me who this T. Mills was and how he could sell out the entire venue. It wasn’t until after the show that I saw his appeal.
I went to the show to support Goldenwest, an up-and-coming indie/alternative/hip hop/pop group based in Los Angeles. In the past few months, their songs have been featured on MTV’s “Real World: Las Vegas” and E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” It’s hard to describe or put a label on their sound, and I find that they are a breath of fresh air to the indie/hip hop scene.
They were the openers and also, in my opinion, the stand out performers of the night. This is in terms of music, stage presence — everything. Their popular tracks, “Always a Party” and “Superfuturelove,” definitely put the crowd in a good mood and got everyone moving.
Even though a lot of their sounds are synthesized, I was surprised to see how little they relied on Macbooks and DJ-equipment. The live instrumentals were on point. I loved how Wes Smith, the group’s main lyricist, put a lot of personal meaning into their songs. In a new track, he talked about how he did not feel accepted by any specific ethnic group growing up, and about hate and judgment he has overcome.
At the end of the set, he told the audience to learn acceptance, and to not be judgmental of other people. It was touching and pertinent; a lot of the girls there should have probably taken a lesson from them and given their shallow cattiness a rest.
Little did I know, Goldenwest’s set was going to be the last time I heard something I could call music in that venue that night.
During the brief intermission, girls began to pull out their portable mirrors and fix their lipstick in anticipation of T. Mills’ arrival. Many of the girls I had talked to before the show had high hopes of spreading mono (and possibly other diseases) throughout the L.A. area by “getting with” T. Mills that night. Girls began pushing and the crowd roared as he came out on stage in a confident manner that screamed “#swag.”
With lines like, “I fucked this white girl/who got a pink range/and she drives fast in the slow lane/she got a neck tattoo and all her clothes are new,” how could you resist the ever-so-clever T. Mills?
Tall, confident, and covered in tattoos and piercings, Travis Mills lifted his shirt up and bended backwards, teasing the crowd as he opened the show with, “She Got A…”
I didn’t understand why everyone was suddenly jumping around, as giddy as if the Beatles had just arrived. Maybe I was too busy tending to my profusely bleeding ears.
T. Mills continued on with tracks like, “Your Favorite,” and “Fuck ‘em With My Vans On,” but once he got to his slower tracks like “Pillow Talk” and “Just My Luck,” I started to see what all of these girls were here for. The fact that anyone could get on a stage like that and act as if they were talking about anything meaningful, putting their all into it, was attractive. It was all about his sexy demeanor. I had to give my ears a whole lot of TLC after that show, but it was an exciting and surprising evening nonetheless.