Macklemore and Ryan Lewis stuns NAU crowd with style and rap

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Airplane boners and spandex. Gold rings and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Horse heads and fur coats. Crowd surfing and trumpets.

Macklemore salutes his sold out show at the end of his performance on Saturday. (Photo by Keenan Turner)

Macklemore salutes his sold out show at the end of his performance on Saturday. (Photo by Keenan Turner)

It is not often these topics come together in one place, but at a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis concert, it doesn’t seem so odd. The rapper came to the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Fieldhouse and was greeted by thousands of screaming fans. Some were dressed in their best replicas of “Thrift Shop” outfits while others took a different approach. At least one fan placed upon his head a horse mask, and there were at least a few cowboy hats to be seen.

Before Macklemore even came on, the crowd was forced back to give those in the front some space. This ended up being a good idea, otherwise more people might have been kicked in the face like one unfortunate girl in the front. A concert really isn’t a good concert unless someone goes home bleeding, right?

Macklemore appeared to enjoy the diversity in clothing. He remarked this was a specialty of Arizona and even put on one of the audience member’s fur coats much to the excitement of everyone in the room — quite an appropriate way to start his hit single.

Although the concert ended up being like a giant dance party, the beginning felt like a junior high dance with far too many couples making out and grinding on each other.

“For the first half of the night, it felt like I paid $20 to have strange people rub up against me and accidentally touch my butt,” said Rylie Dougherty, a sophomore photography major.

However, Macklemore also got into fairly close contact with those standing closest to the stage. He and Ryan Lewis crowd surfed during a few songs, even going so far as to rap while in the arms of the audience.

There were plenty of repeat-after-me moments bonding die-hard fans and newcomers in harmony, even if only for a few seconds. With a strong beat and interesting instrument choices including a live trumpet, Macklemore’s music was more about dancing than lyrics in the long run.

In addition to the odd style choices of the audience, Macklemore came on stage for the song “And We Danced” in a very sparkly silver cape with furry shoulder pads and a blond curly wig. Fans really enjoyed his carefree style including Bryan Buenaflor, a junior hotel and restaurant management major and self-proclaimed huge fan of Macklemore.

“My favorite part was when he dressed up. The concert was such a [expletive] awesome success,” Buenaflor said. “It was really fun and there was so much shouting that I lost my voice.”

According to Macklemore, NAU was the rowdiest and most enthusiastic concert to date. The majority of the crowd spent most of the performance jumping up and down, screaming at the top of their lungs with hands stretched to the sky “like the ceiling can’t hold us.”

At the end of the night, students went home deaf, voiceless and exhausted, but with memories of a great concert. Chelsea Harper, a sophomore finance major, thoroughly enjoyed the concert despite her declaration that she is only somewhat of a fan.

“I really like his music, and I had a fun time. ‘Thrift Shop’ was the best because everyone got into the song. It was awesome,” Harper said.

Although people who don’t really know a band or musician’s music cannot enjoy all concerts, Macklemore is uniquely suited to the stage. Even his more serious raps, which deal with homosexuality and death, are both entertaining and informative, which says more than most rap artists today. All-in-all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday night and $20.



Coconino Community College
Student Housing at NAU