Travi$ Scott has a dedicated, loyal and exuberant following. The type of following that expects a certain level of intensity and when he descended on Toronto’s Opera House this year for Canadian Music Week (CMW) everyone knew they were in for something special. Show opener Cam Smith did not disappoint. The Halifax native got the crowd moving with his unique blend of rock and rap. Backed by a live band, the Nova Scotian had the eager front rowers nodding in appreciation. By the end of his set, the crowd was properly amped for the next performer.
Strangely, there was about a 20-minute break in between acts that syphoned the energy out of the crowd. Conversation got loud and the bar got busy. Bakers Club affiliate Brandon Chey was next up and while he did his best to win back the crowd’s attention, it wasn’t till Raz Fresco appeared decked out in a vintage Tommy Hilfiger pullover and hoodie that hands started waving.
There was another long break after Chey, except this time there was no music to soothe the savage beast the crowd was becoming. Chants of “Travis, Travis” started as the alcohol made its way from the many livers and into the many minds. Then DJ Chase B took the stage.
Starting off slowly with familiar trap anthems like “OG Bobby Johnson” and “Danny Glover”, Chase repeatedly questioned whether the crowd was ready for Travi$ Scott. Suddenly, out of nowhere Travis charged the stage. Bounding from end to end, the Texan immediately turned the intensity up to 10 with his explosive entrance. Travis barely managed to get through the first track before crowd surfing. After addressing the crowd, he disappeared from centre stage almost as fast as he appeared. Chase B took back over, dropping tracks from the G.O.O.D. Music camp before smoothly transitioning to the familiar marching melody of “Uptown”. Just as the beat dropped, Travi$ burst out from under the DJ booth and drove the mass into a frenzy.
Travis controlled all aspects of his set as well as he controlled the crowd. He would frequently let the lighting technician know what colours of light he required and would often challenge the crowd to perform tasks such as carrying crowd surfers from the back of the audience to the front without letting them touch the ground. Halfway through the set, he commanded the sea of fans to part like Moses and proceeded to climb 30 feet or so to the upstairs balcony and preach the commandments of turning up to the rapid fire snares of “Upper Echelon”.
Those looking for a show as off the wall as Travi$ Scott is himself were not disappointed. Even the normally reserved WondaGurl, whom Travis has worked closely with, was pressured into crowd surfing at the Owl Pharaoh’s request.
In line with the unorthodox presentation of the show, the finale rolled out like nothing most have ever seen before. Travis pulled up a couple dozen fans onto stage to mosh out before disappearing into the back leaving the stage in chaos. It wasn’t until security took the mic and wished everyone a good night that the crowd dispersed chanting “Travis, Travis.” In some ways, the Opera House will never be the same.
Words By. Sean Watson + Photos By. Candace Nyaomi