Lil Yachty, the self-anointed “King of the Youth,” arrived to find his subjects adopting all the modern postures of fealty: phones hoisted in the air, Snapchat fingers at the ready, shouting “Yachty is coming!”
The kid also known as Lil Boat is sheer, unadulterated fun, and the young fans who packed Myth flocked to his youthful verve and the relentless optimism that truly sets him apart. His alternate universe of positivity is a fantastic realm of 808s fan fiction, and with each new release he doubles down on never getting down on himself.
Yachty’s first song of the night, from his debut album, Teenage Emotions, was the light and lilting singalong “Like a Star.” It's a great example of how he continues to ratchet up his pulsing positivity by becoming even more simple, by allowing his youthful insistence to sound even more idealistic. What undercuts any glaring naivety in a chorus like “I’ll live life like a star” is Yachty's energy, an underrated ability to switch gears between singing and hard rapping, and a mastery of the nuances of Auto-Tune.
King Boat came flying out onto stage designed like the set of a TV talk show, with a white desk with red lettering that read “Late Night with Lil Boat,” and his bobbing, beaded red braids and impish, infectious smile electrified the crowd. He maintained a supercharged good vibe through plenty of gimmicks that stopped and started abruptly but never failed to be hilarious and fun.
After a few seconds of “Made of Glass” Yachty told the DJ to cut it, and asked who in the crowd knew the song best. He then spent several minutes asking fans, one by one, how well they know it the song, eventually choosing two to come up on stage and prove it. The first nailed it. The second flubbed the first line, prompting Yachty to spring to the DJ booth and begin chaotically scratching records. “Tell them what they’ve won!” Yachty shouted at the DJ, and the two participants received tour shirts. After they left the stage, he began “Made of Glass” himself and, a few lines in, stopped. “I always forget the words to that one,” he laughed, telling us that's why he had the competition.
During one of the many times Yachty demanded more energy from the already impossibly hyped crowd, he told us he wanted everyone to have something in our hands to wave, that we should take off our shirts or something. Then he instructed the people on stage with him to grab whatever was nearby to throw into the crowd. Treats came raining down on Myth: mini-muffin bags, Fruit Loops, sweet and sour candy of every variety, Ding Dongs. Yachty essentially stopped the show to give everybody a snack break. If you’ve never seen a bag of cereal bust open and land on the crowd at a rap show before – and let’s be honest, you haven’t – let me tell you, it’s hilarious.
Yachty’s such a sweetheart he stopped the show a handful of times to check if people needed water, tossing bottles to specific people who asked for it. He made sure everyone was fully hydrated before he started up “Peek A Boo.” And before “FYI,” he said he wanted to see more moshing. He pointed to one side of the crowd, then to the other, and kids swelled and swirled at the wave of his hand like he was a conductor or a Jedi Knight.
Before the requisite “Minnesota,” a track so apropos he performed it twice, Yachty demanded that the crowd create a huge empty circle in the middle to force just about everyone into an all-out mosh. As the circle began to form, Yachty shouted “Bigger! Bigger!” and summoned his minions into a mosh-meld. And then, bam, “Minnesota” exploded and so did the crowd, as Yachty and his crew, the Sailing Team, sprinted around the stage like kids under a backyard sprinkler in the summertime – particularly Burberry Perry, Lil Boat’s right hand man.
Perry and Yachty have a unique onstage symbiosis. On songs like “Wanna Be Us,” they worked off and around each other like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson setting each other up for long distance heaves that float and bend and splash home. Auto-Tune may have somewhat democratized melody, but the effect still requires some craft to use correctly, and these guys have it figured out.
After the two laid into a version of “One Night” that was even more delightfully singsongy than the recorded one, Yachty closed the night with “Forever Young.” “We could be together forever, and ever, and ever/ I want to live life with you forever,” Yachty sang as streamers shot into the air. In Lil Yachty’s company, we are all champions, forever celebrating the final scene in our own teen sports flick, enjoying an all access pass to a moment of youthful exuberance that he grants to all ages, to have and to hold and to remember forever.
Notes on the opener: The Sailing Team all performed and had stupid fun, each rapper starting out his set alone before all the others came crashing in to sing along with their buddy. Each 10-minute or so set ended with eight people bouncing around on stage. The standouts were Kodie Shane and Burberry Perry, who's sure to release a break-out track soon.
Critic's bias: Every time Yachty releases a new song, I think “I really needed this.” Like I’ve been in a bad way and Yachty’s timing couldn't be better, and he puts a big, stupid, childish smile on my face.
The crowd: It was an all-ages show, with fans ranging from parent-chaperoned tween to teen up to early 20s. By the end of the show, we were used to clearing way for a teenager to rush for the bathroom to puke – I saw it happen at least three times. Yachty stopped the show once to yell at two guys who were clearly moments from blows, saying anyone with bad vibes would be summarily tossed from the club, but he laughed while he did this. Everyone was really young and having a blast, sweating and puking and shoving and doing all the things you do at 18.
Overheard in crowd: Outside in the Uber/Lyft waiting line: “It's so cold … my nipples could literally cut like diamonds.”
Random notebook dump: I’ve been going to Myth since I’ve been 15 and I sometimes take it for granted, but it’s a great venue. It’s spacious and sparse, the staff is chill, and the setting is flexible enough to allow artists to bring in some intricate stage designs.
Like a Star
Lady in Yellow
Bring it back
Wanna Be Us
Say My Name
Peek a Boo
Shot Out the Roof