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Concert review: Mac Miller matures in performance, material

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On Sunday night at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, the “turned-up” audience was all for Mac Miller to promote his new album, “GO:OD AM,” live to Columbus.

Mac Miller — formerly known as Malcolm McCormick — performed most of the songs off the new album, including “Brand Name,” “100 Grandkids” and “Break the Law.” The crowd rapped along, not missing a beat.

Miller did however mix in a few oldies, such as his hit “Donald Trump.” He walked out on the stage belting out the opening line, “Ayo the flyest motherf—– in the room, yea you know that’s me.”

Strobe lights flashing, swirling lights circling the audience, the performance seemed to be more hypnotic than entertaining. The concert became the definitions of crowded as fans swarmed to the front to see the Pittsburgh native, a mosh pit formed front and center with a giant banner of Mac Miller’s face drawing every eye to the front of stage.

But as Miller proved, this is just the noisy “pep rally” style show known as the Mac experience.

But for longtime Mac Miller fans, this concert was different.

Miller actually performed for the audience, not allowing the music to over power his lyrics. In contrast with other popular rap stars, the teenage Internet sensation was engaging with his fans, almost seeming to speak his mind instead of rapping his lyrics.

Miller learned the hard way the issues that come with being rich and famous at a young age. Miller struggled with an addiction to promethazine and it reached the breaking point after the success of his 2011 album, “Blue Slide Park.”

The singer seemed to be suffocating in a drug-filled fog when he released his 2014 mixtape “Faces,” which presents a dark, trippy affair that fantasizes about dying of an overdose.

Thankfully, “GO:OD AM” is completely different. The music world can finally say that Mac Miller is becoming a rapper.

Let’s be honest, Mac Miller began his career as borderline boyish and extremely immature.

He rapped more like a kid messing around on the playground than a person who expresses themselves through music.

Bottom line: there seemed to be a sort of refusal for sophistication throughout his music. He had the flow, but he didn’t have the lyrics.

Miller’s new album, “GO:OD AM,” presents a different, more mature side of the 23-year-old. The development is expressed in both his lyrics and the beats. The use of percussion and xylophone enter his flow, giving the music a more approachable, relaxed style.

Finally, deciding to gain some control of his drug habit, Miller is focusing on the brighter, more positive aspects of his life. The new album presents his most uplifting and inspiring tracks to date.

Miller ditched spitting about overdose predictions and decided to stay alive a bit longer. In his song “Brand Name” he says he is “hoping not to join the 27 club,” an unfortunate club of musicians who all lost their lives at the age 27, including Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

Miller even expressed his aspirations to grow up, become “old and rich” and wanting to be married. On his song, “100 Grandkids,” he promises to give his mother grandchildren, “so she can spoil ‘em.”

Of course, it’s hard to break old habits as Miller proves in “Doors,” with the dark line, “ain’t saying I’m sober / I’m just in a better place.”

Even though the rapper admits to still being lost in the celebrity world, there seems to be a sense that he is “finding himself” in the spotlight.

Thankfully, Miller is finally stepping away from the “frat boy trying to finish off the keg” persona. He is groaning throughout his songs less and is learning to use fewer marijuana references.

Hey, I said he was maturing. I didn’t say he had matured.

Overall, Mac Miller is improving and the concert was a huge step in the right direction.

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