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Webster X, Allan Kingdom bring intense atmosphere to Gardner

Gardner – John Brady

Luke Jarzyna

On Friday, Feb. 12, Gardner Lounge was treated to a hip-hop double bill featuring Webster X and the Grammy-nominated, Kanye West-endorsed Allan Kingdom. Webster X, moniker for Sam Ahmed, is a 22-year-old rapper from Milwaukee’s burgeoning hip-hop scene. He opened Friday’s show with a highly engaging set. Accompanied onstage by an eclectic squad including a DJ, a female vocalist and a dude playing a MIDI pad with drumsticks, Webster X formed the live hip-hop equation of rapper and DJ.

Webster X met the complexity of the musician setup with an equally commanding stage presence. Throughout the performance, he incited the packed crowd to meet his intensity with ecstatic dancing and jumping. Webster X even successfully encouraged Gardner’s audience to form a mosh pit and “spin the room,” jumping and running chaotically in a circle as a swarm.

Gardner - John Brady
The crowd goes wild for Webster X’s lively emotive rap. Despite Webster X’s complex stage map, he engaged with his audience. Photo by John Brady.

Main act Allan Kingdom is a Minneapolis-based artist riding on a massive amount of recent success. His biggest claim to fame may be his featured spot on Kanye West’s single “All Day,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance this past weekend. However, those familiar with Kingdom’s music know that “All Day” hardly does justice to Kingdom’s lyrical prowess and musical depth. Those who made it to Gardner Lounge were lucky to experience the full range of Kingdom’s artistic abilities. Kingdom had recently released the video for “Northern Lights,” an excellent single from his 2016 mixtape of the same name, when he performed in Gardner last Friday. Clearly, Kingdom and his cohorts could hardly contain their enthusiasm for what had already been an exciting year.

Gardner Lounge is a much smaller venue than the clubs Kingdom is used to playing, especially considering his success of late. With Kingdom’s skyrocketing popularity, intimate performances like that in Gardner will soon become relics of the past.

Gardner - John Brady
Allan Kingdom ignites students in Gardner Lounge. Photo by John Brady.
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