Published Aug 07, 2018It was one of those swampy August city nights where the humidex rises to threat levels for the elderly, and both the last and next flash lighting storms are only minutes away. So a summer-dressed concertgoer could be standing perfectly still in a packed nightclub dead in the middle of Little Italy and still feel leg sweat trickling down to his shoes. God bless the one dude in VIP wearing a suit.
Through this midnight party smog of feels-like-40, and all of the yellow laser lights and dry-ice plumes, an hour of Post Malone's hooks — the ones that dominate radio playlists and ring out from sunroofs — felt just as sticky.
"Holy fuck, it's hot in here, man," the multi-platinum rap singer exclaimed between earworms.
Captain Obvious had his audience in mind when he picked out his outfit: a soon-to-be-soggy yellow tee, squeaky-white sneakers, and black pants patched with a Canadian flag on each knee. And his props: a red solo cup filled with something or other, and a blunt roughly the size of a Blue Jays Way sausage.
For the steamy gathering served a dual purpose. To celebrate Richard Austin Post's singles-loaded, super-produced, #1-charting, double-platinum sophomore platter, Beerbongs & Bentleys. And to give a marketing boost to Aurora, a Canadian medical marijuana producer rapidly gaining a name with the cool kids through its Illumination Series of free concerts. All the night's attendees had to do to catch one of the Summer 2018's biggest acts in an intimate venue was rush to fill out an online form.
Notable Torontonians Jazz Cartier, Kardinal Offishall and Tyler Seguin could be spotted high in the Mod Club's VIP balcony, where spirits and jerk-chicken tacos were equally free.
Through a nearly blinding burst of yellow light and thirsty chants of "Posty!" a confident Malone took the stage at 11:15, opening with 2015 hit "Too Young," the 23-year-old's hypnotic plea to live long and prosper.
Bouncing back and forth across the dais in his trademark face tats and man-bun, the Texas-raised genre-bender smiled and frequently thanked his admirers — several of whom bobbed with man- and woman-buns of their own — between anthems, clinging mostly to a tight script, with hits aplenty. "Better Now" led to "Sugar Wraith" led to "Psycho" led to "Paranoid."
"This next song is dedicated to the stupid bitch that broke my heart," Malone explained, before launching into 2016's purple-hazy emo-trap banger "I Fall Apart."
At some point between Post pulling up a chair and an acoustic guitar to strum out recent crass-folk single "Stay" and getting the club bouncing to the unavoidable "Rockstar," your appreciation for his charisma, beat selection, assuredness and hook crafting rises, even if his vocal chops underwhelm.
Clocking in just under an hour, Posty's performance ends with even more heat as he tops his breakthrough track, "White Iverson," with the salutary "Congratulations."
Then, mercifully, the doors swing open and the sweaty fans disperse through the summer rain.