Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kid Cudi Returns To Cleveland For Concert Homecoming

As reported by John Soeder at The Plain Dealer / (photo courtesy of John Soeder)

“On top of the dreams is where I’m found,” Kid Cudi intoned over a pulsating techno beat during “Cudi Zone,” a highlight of his sold-out performance Friday night (Jan. 15) at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland.

Here was living proof of a show-biz dream come true.

A few years ago, Scott Mescudi was just another struggling hip-hop artist. He was born in Cleveland and raised in Shaker Heights and Solon.

Now he’s up for three Grammy Awards, including best rap song for his breakthrough hit “Day n Nite.” The ceremony is set for Sunday, Jan. 31, in Los Angeles – the day after Cudi’s 26th birthday.

He moved to New York City in 2004, but Cudi remains a homeboy at heart. In concert, he sported a Cleveland Indians cap and liberally sprinkled local references into his tunes.

In return, he got a hero’s welcome from an enthusiastic audience. In the crowd were his mother, Elsie Mescudi, and other family members.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been home,” said Cudi, last seen onstage here in July at House of Blues.

“I love where I’m from,” he said. “I represent when I can.”

The 80-minute show drew heavily from his 2009 debut album, “Man on the Moon: The End of Day,” including dynamic renditions of “Up Up & Away,” “Solo Dolo” and “Make Her Say.”

Cudi also worked in a few selections (including “Down & Out”) from his Internet-popularized 2008 mixtape, “A Kid Named Cudi,” as well as tastes of recent collaborations with Jay-Z (“Already Home”) and David Guetta (“Memories”).

With his wiry build and hungry attitude, Cudi resembled a shadow boxer as he paced restlessly around the stage, dramatically backlit by multi-colored spotlights.

“I’ve got some issues that nobody can see / And all of these emotions are pouring outta me,” he declared to the tune of “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” a hypnotic ballad.

Unlike a lot of hip-hop hits, Cudi’s songs transcended mere braggadocio. His introspective musings didn’t shy away from dwelling on insecurities and shortcomings.

“Embrace the Martian” and other sci-fi-flavored numbers portrayed him as the ultimate outsider, an otherworldly stranger in a strange land.

The music itself was out of this world, too. Cudi’s distinctive sing-song delivery was matched with futuristic grooves. He eschewed the usual samples of R&B oldies in favor of a forward-thinking, electronica-oriented sound.

Despite the intimations of vulnerability in his lyrics, Cudi revealed an indomitable spirit. It came across loud and clear in “Heart of a Lion,” a hard-charging anthem.

On “Ask About Me” and “Hyyerr,” he traded lines with another Cleveland MC, Chip tha Ripper.

Chip warmed up the crowd with an impressive set of his own. He struck a chord with “Movie” (from his new “The Cleveland Show” mixtape) and other raps delivered with a relaxed command.

Already Home
Down & Out
Dat New New
Soundtrack 2 My Life
Simple as . . .
Man on the Moon
Embrace the Martian
Up Up & Away
Sky Might Fall
Ask About Me (with Chip tha Ripper)
Hyyerr (with Chip tha Ripper)
Heart of a Lion
Solo Dolo
Make Her Say
Cudi Zone
Day n Nite
Pursuit of Happiness

PHOTOS here:
Film Magic
Getty Images

fan shot footage below.

(video courtesy of MaoieWowie)

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