Concert review: RL Grime and Ty Dolla $ign at CU Boulder’s Balch Fieldhouse

RL Grime, Ty Dolla $ign and Blackbear headlined a jam-packed concert on Saturday evening at the Balch Fieldhouse on CU Boulder’s campus. The concert featured genres ranging from rap to R&B to EDM. The artist’s stage in the back of the venue boasted fog machines and flashing neon lights, adding a club-like touch to the atmosphere.

So Down kicked off the show. The EDM artist played several bass-heavy instrumental tracks, but since So Down is not very well known the audience had a hard time vibing with his music. The crowd lacked energy during his performance, which was understandable given that the songs lacked a fast-paced, danceable vibe even though they were EDM tracks. People came in wanting to get into the mode of a high-energy concert, but instead were forced to just stand around.

Blackbear followed So Down. The R&B singer and rapper dressed in a leather jacket embellished with bright orange flames during his performance, which featured some of his most famous songs. This focus on older material, rather than songs from his most recent album Help, brought fans back to the original Blackbear they loved the most.

As if to showcase his full and soulful voice, Blackbear did acoustic and chill renditions of songs such as “Girl Like U” and “90210.” As moving and chill as his songs were, the performance lacked energy. Blackbear did not do a good job of interacting with the audience or helping them get pumped.

Ty Dolla $ign took the stage about an hour after Blackbear. The rapper came out shirtless, displaying his tattoo-clad chest. Red flashing lights flared behind him as he sang some of his most famous songs, including “Paranoid” and “Or Nah.”

When Ty Dolla $ign called for a mosh pit to accompany his hit song “Blasé,” the crowd went wild. They tightly packed together and, during beat drops, would form a giant suction by pushing and swaying. The moment was exhausting but thrilling, and it was truly one of the most memorable of the night.

Even though Ty Dolla $ign made “Blasé” so fun, he also lacked energy in his performance. The audience was dancing and having more fun than before he took the stage, but the man himself lacked charisma.

“’Or Nah’ is one my favorite songs, and he just changed the rhythm and made it seem unfamiliar and not fun,” said Julia Pastor, a freshman at CU.

The real hype started when RL Grime came out. The artist lifted the audience with upbeat remixes of popular hip-hop and pop songs. The loud music included powerful beat drops that encouraged audience members to dance and sing along. He played remixes to songs like “Broccoli” by D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty and “Love Sosa” by Chief Keef.

“The concert is fucking lit. I came here for RL Grime” freshman Jack Considine said in regards to Grime’s performance. “I came here to fucking dance and party.”

RL Grime kept me on my feet for the duration of his performance. I was familiar with almost all of the songs he played, making it even more fun to sing along to them with my friends. Everyone in the crowd looked like they were having an amazing time.

Overall, the concert was a tad disappointing until RL Grime came on about four hours after it started. The preceding artists lacked charisma and failed to interact with the audience. The wide array of genres also served as a downfall, as it made the transitions between the artists awkward. The music went from EDM, to slow R&B, to rap and finally back to fast-paced dance beats – making it hard to get into a concert mood.


Contact CU Independent Arts Writer Sam Danshes at

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