When I decided to take a group of preteens to a rap concert at a bar that’s outfitted with bowling alleys tucked away in the crevice of the Las Vegas strip, I didn’t anticipate just how many “WTF” faces and actual verbalizations of that phrase our group would be met with by drunk and astounded concertgoers. It was the hilarious result of the scene I created, bringing four actual children to mingle among the grown ups, the kids bopping to their favorite vulgar and explicit songs from 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert and — when he finally hit the stage at Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas on Wednesday night — Playboi Carti.
To me, it made sense to take a few kids to the Carti show, after all, the Atlanta native and ASAP Mop representative is just 20 years old himself, and though the venue is full of the typical mid-20s crowd of dad hats, skinny jeans and oversized t-shirts you see at any rap show these days, it was actually perfect for the four kids. That night meant everything to my son, his friend and my two younger brothers, and it was everything they wanted: Loud music, a raucous crowd, space to dance, and one of their favorite artists in the same room as them — even if they were way too short to actually see him over the crowd of adults in front of them.
The first lesson of the night for the little guys was the art of the opening act. Look, opening up a show is mostly thankless work, it’s tough and it’s a necessary part of artist development that must be done as they cut their teeth and work their way up the ladder, but that doesn’t mean we always have to enjoy it. At the Carti show, the kids learned the tough lesson that openers are rarely enjoyable, and even though the right performer would use that platform to steal the crowd and gain a few new fans, most of Carti’s openers left much to be desired.