Wale / Colin Monroe Mod Club, Toronto ON April 26

Wale / Colin Monroe Mod Club, Toronto ON April 26
It was hard to tell really just how many would turn up on a Sunday night to see super buzz MC Wale for his first trip through town, given the DC native's lack of an official full-length and the internet generated stigma of being one of the hottest hipster rappers in the game. Add to this a splatter shot output that includes two dope-yet-moderately disseminated mixtapes and a hot Roots feature on one hand, and a questionable tag team match up with suspect sensation Lady Gaga on the other, and promoters were surely relieved to see the Mod Club fill up quite comfortably come show time.

Crafty hometown opener Colin Monroe no doubt had something to do with that, though, turning in a tightly wound five-cut set of poppy, crowd lifting jams that most of the room took in graciously. Backed by a drummer and guitarist for only the third time, the regular one-man-show took full advantage of his newfound freedom as he threw himself energetically into the heart tugging lyrics of tunes like "Last Cause" before calling it a night with the Kanye-inspired retake "I Want Those Flashing Lights," to welcoming cheers.

Whatever energy Monroe displayed was quickly amped up five notches when Wale took the stage, and it wasn't long before the outgoing showman was placating the room's collective musical sweet tooth. Backed by legendary DC go-go band UBC, the motor-mouth MC flipped gems like "Good Girls" and "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E." into classics like "Electric Relaxation" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit," while his mousy voiced hype man covered vocals on tracks like the aforementioned Gaga collabo "Chillin'," drawing mixed-yet-expected cheers.

Never missing a beat (even when his chain broke), Wale worked hard to heat up the characteristically cool Toronto audience, running through a brief, School Daze-era go-go history lesson, then returning to a smattering of tunes from his various mixtapes before making a blunt, encore-less exit (though to a telling crowd indifference). In the end, it was a hard night's work for a moderate response, and despite a set void of many choice tunes, the stuntin' lyricist definitely did the best with what was given to him.