Wednesday night was take-your-mom-to-work day for me. My 50-year-old Jewish mother just needed to go see Long Island’s Steven Adam Markowitz, better known as Hoodie Allen.
The doors opened at 7, crowds of hundreds were wrapped around House of Blues Cleveland hours before that, though. The line started at the front doors on Euclid Avenue, wrapping all the way past East 4th, then curving onto Prospect Ave.
I’ve been to a good handful of shows at House of Blues and I have never seen such an impressive line.
Gnash took the stage at 8, sipping hot Starbucks tea. Icicle lights twined his microphone stand, drawing attention to him and his salmon-colored cardigan.
Gnash was cooler than cool itself. I know this because my sort-of-cool mother turned to me around song four and went, “I really like him.” This was a surprise. But, this surprise proved that anyone and everyone is able to love the heartfelt, bass-dropping musician with circular shades.
Next on were [SuperDuper] Kyle and [SuperDuper] Brick. The duo came out bearing light sabers, strobe lights flashing around their every move. These two filled the House of Blues stage with constant energetic dance moves, keeping the crowd jumping in front of them.
Their set ended with Kyle kicking off his shoes and Ralph Lauren sweater, stripping down to red surfer shorts and jumping into the crowd on an actual surfboard. An actual bright yellow surfboard.
Hoodie came on at 10 to a backdrop of bright, flashing lights. Everything was so surreal, smoke machines going off, strobe lights blinding, Hoodie just generally existing.
He began his set with ‘Intro To Anxiety’, a solid piano riff introducing his latest album release Happy Camper.
‘Two Lips’ came on halfway through the set, ending the verse with a snippet of ‘Stressed Out’ by Twenty One Pilots. This was a second wave of excitement because every Ohioan is quite proud of the Columbus-based band.
Soon after, ‘Surprise Party’ came on. Apparently a tradition, Hoodie snuck around to the back of the crowd and leaped upon a platform. After rapping to the mesmerized crowd, the 27-year-old then hurled birthday cakes up to the balcony. (My mother was disgusted as she watched teens eat the smashed cake off the floor.)
On the note of tradition, Hoodie brought out an inflatable raft. A year ago, the New Yorker was in Cleveland and literally surfed the crowd. Thus, the birth of surfing crowds in an inflatable raft.
Two hours later, the elated House of Blues crowd left as Happy Campers.
To see more photos from the night, check out our gallery.