Riff Raff came to the Observatory on Saturday night, playing to a sold out Santa Ana crowd as a stop on his Neon Icon tour. His debut album isn’t out for a few more months, but when he stepped on the stage and announced that he was going to be playing 40 songs, the crowd erupted. Some of those songs are his, some are songs on which he has a verse, but most are part of a fairly successful social media groundswell of popularity that has put the divisive entertainer on the forefront of internet celebrity.
Without going into whether or not Riff Raff has musical ability or rapping prowess, his following is unavoidable. While comprised mostly of teenagers that follow the Texas rapper on Instagram or Twitter, they knew most of the words to most of the songs. As a musician, you can’t ask for more than that.
The stage showed comprised of a DJ, two go-go dancers inside of makeshift pvc pipe “cages” with a sheet in front, and two hype men on stage along with the headliner. Including the dozen or so members of his entourage behind the stage and the half-dozen VIPs that swarmed the photo pit, you can see how the man on the microphone has created a universe around himself in which he plays the part of the sun.
Usually, it’s pretty awesome if an act comes out and says that they will be playing 40 songs. However, if half of those songs feature said act leaving the stage for no certain reason and coming back only when their part kicked in, well, that’s less of a concert and more of what you'd get at a quinceanera or wedding.
Still, any negativity Riff Raff gets thrown his way somehow gets turned into positivity and promotion, regardless of who is slinging the arrow. Like the machine Kevin Costner pissed into to produce instant coffee in Waterworld, in Riff Raff’s versace world, “haters” go in one end and “swag” comes out the other.
Comedian Hannibal Buress put it best: Riff Raff vibes out to his own music. It’s cool, but it’s hardly a performance. Then again, the entire mantra in Riff Raff’s world is that he’s the best, so logically, this is the best thing he could be doing. Nothing is going to slow this guy down, not criticism, not the press, and certainly not reality.
All it will take is one all-caps locked tweet about what a joke this review is to ignite more ticket sales down the road. You're welcome, Mr. Raff.