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Gonzo Report: Notes from Jack Harlow’s Come Home The Kids Miss You tour

Booties knock beers at SDSU show

All the world’s a...garage?
All the world’s a...garage?

It was a chill vibe heading into the September 17 Jack Harlow concert at SDSU’s Viejas Arena. Packs of students strolled to the show — part of the 24-year-old Kentucky rapper’s Come Home The Kids Miss You tour — from nearby dorms and apartments, while others skated in and locked up their boards on the campus skateboard racks. The line grew to what seemed like a quarter mile past the police station on Remington Road and looped around, but it moved fast. A police helicopter loomed above us, but the ghetto bird didn’t faze the thousands of laid-back concertgoers, most in their teens and early twenties. “I don’t really like them,” said a college student behind me, “but they are popular.” One famous track by Harlow and Lil Nas X, “Industry Baby,” reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was Harlow’s first hip-hop song (and Lil Nas X’s third) to top the charts.

A group of fraternity brothers sitting on their house’s roof hollered at some girls who were in standing in line with us dressed in short leather skirts and leather mini-dresses. It seemed leather was in with this Gen Z crowd, from jackets and pants to halter tops, Doc Marten boots in various finishes, even spiked leather collars. (Outside the arena, anyway: the security guards warned that spiked chokers were not permitted inside the venue.) Some of us in line were parents who remembered the ’80s, punk, and its predilection for leather and spikes. I noticed a few guardians and parents with their teens and tweens, while others like myself rolled solo to better understand the hubbub and TikTokkin’ songs our children were dancing and lip-synching to. “We’re the oldest people here in line,” said 61 year-old Randy, who was there with 56 year-old SDSU alumna Angie. “I haven’t heard him yet, and I’m hoping it’s not a lot of cursing.”

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It took about 20 minutes to get inside. I sat in row 31, one of the highest. It was popular up there, as there were no backrests, and folks had more space to dance and pose for photos and videos. (The aisle seat cost less than $30, but fees brought it closer to $50, and parking was an additional $20.) By 8 pm, attendees were pre-gaming up top. The DJ onstage below played ’90s hip-hop joints. Surprisingly, many concertgoers who weren’t even born in the gangsta rap era were able to recite the catchy rap verses on point. When The Homies, a Louisville, Kentucky rap quartet, opened at 8:45, the crowd was at about 50 percent capacity. Miami rap duo City Girls followed, consisting of Yung Miami and JT and a handful of dancers who twerked in synchronized fashion. The crowd loved the group’s high energy sex-positive verses, and they chanted along with many of the songs. Folks surrounding me were out of their seats, twerking their booties so hard and so low to the ground that they knocked over their beer cups and wine glasses.

Harlow, who is set to appear October 29 on Saturday Night Live, pulled up onstage behind a large white curtain with a spotlight aimed at him from the opposite side, which created an oversized silhouette. He began his set a cappella, and then the curtain dropped and he was front and center, decked out in all-black gear with white kicks. First, he performed “Dua Lipa,” rapping, “I sold dem basements out, let’s do arenas.” By this point, around 80 percent of the SDSU arena seats were filled. While Harlow took an offstage break, a short video depicting him driving a vehicle played on the three jumbo-sized screens. Then, the stage lights went red, and the atmosphere grew more ominous. The large screen up top played matching red and black graphics evocative of storms...and then a garage magically appeared on stage, complete with garden hose and basketball hoop.

Harlow’s live band, which he incorporates in many of his tracks, was onstage (or rather, in the garage) with him. “Does anybody in San Diego have a hot hand?” Harlow asked the audience. He brought three women onstage and gave them a chance to shoot some hoops. “You get three tries,” he told the women, letting them know they’d be hooked up with merch if they sank a shot.

Fans on ground level flashed large-font messages on their phone screens toward Harlow. He read them out loud, starting one with, “I don’t have a gag ref....” Everyone screamed and laughed. “This song right here is to everyone with no gag reflex” he said, segueing into “Poison.”

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All the world’s a...garage?
All the world’s a...garage?

It was a chill vibe heading into the September 17 Jack Harlow concert at SDSU’s Viejas Arena. Packs of students strolled to the show — part of the 24-year-old Kentucky rapper’s Come Home The Kids Miss You tour — from nearby dorms and apartments, while others skated in and locked up their boards on the campus skateboard racks. The line grew to what seemed like a quarter mile past the police station on Remington Road and looped around, but it moved fast. A police helicopter loomed above us, but the ghetto bird didn’t faze the thousands of laid-back concertgoers, most in their teens and early twenties. “I don’t really like them,” said a college student behind me, “but they are popular.” One famous track by Harlow and Lil Nas X, “Industry Baby,” reached number one on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was Harlow’s first hip-hop song (and Lil Nas X’s third) to top the charts.

A group of fraternity brothers sitting on their house’s roof hollered at some girls who were in standing in line with us dressed in short leather skirts and leather mini-dresses. It seemed leather was in with this Gen Z crowd, from jackets and pants to halter tops, Doc Marten boots in various finishes, even spiked leather collars. (Outside the arena, anyway: the security guards warned that spiked chokers were not permitted inside the venue.) Some of us in line were parents who remembered the ’80s, punk, and its predilection for leather and spikes. I noticed a few guardians and parents with their teens and tweens, while others like myself rolled solo to better understand the hubbub and TikTokkin’ songs our children were dancing and lip-synching to. “We’re the oldest people here in line,” said 61 year-old Randy, who was there with 56 year-old SDSU alumna Angie. “I haven’t heard him yet, and I’m hoping it’s not a lot of cursing.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

It took about 20 minutes to get inside. I sat in row 31, one of the highest. It was popular up there, as there were no backrests, and folks had more space to dance and pose for photos and videos. (The aisle seat cost less than $30, but fees brought it closer to $50, and parking was an additional $20.) By 8 pm, attendees were pre-gaming up top. The DJ onstage below played ’90s hip-hop joints. Surprisingly, many concertgoers who weren’t even born in the gangsta rap era were able to recite the catchy rap verses on point. When The Homies, a Louisville, Kentucky rap quartet, opened at 8:45, the crowd was at about 50 percent capacity. Miami rap duo City Girls followed, consisting of Yung Miami and JT and a handful of dancers who twerked in synchronized fashion. The crowd loved the group’s high energy sex-positive verses, and they chanted along with many of the songs. Folks surrounding me were out of their seats, twerking their booties so hard and so low to the ground that they knocked over their beer cups and wine glasses.

Harlow, who is set to appear October 29 on Saturday Night Live, pulled up onstage behind a large white curtain with a spotlight aimed at him from the opposite side, which created an oversized silhouette. He began his set a cappella, and then the curtain dropped and he was front and center, decked out in all-black gear with white kicks. First, he performed “Dua Lipa,” rapping, “I sold dem basements out, let’s do arenas.” By this point, around 80 percent of the SDSU arena seats were filled. While Harlow took an offstage break, a short video depicting him driving a vehicle played on the three jumbo-sized screens. Then, the stage lights went red, and the atmosphere grew more ominous. The large screen up top played matching red and black graphics evocative of storms...and then a garage magically appeared on stage, complete with garden hose and basketball hoop.

Harlow’s live band, which he incorporates in many of his tracks, was onstage (or rather, in the garage) with him. “Does anybody in San Diego have a hot hand?” Harlow asked the audience. He brought three women onstage and gave them a chance to shoot some hoops. “You get three tries,” he told the women, letting them know they’d be hooked up with merch if they sank a shot.

Fans on ground level flashed large-font messages on their phone screens toward Harlow. He read them out loud, starting one with, “I don’t have a gag ref....” Everyone screamed and laughed. “This song right here is to everyone with no gag reflex” he said, segueing into “Poison.”

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