Machine Gun Kelly’s recent reported drama with Conor McGregor at the MTV Video Music Awards and altercations at the Louder Than Life music festival in Louisville, Kentucky, were an afterthought when the Houston rapper, singer-songwriter and actor hit the stage at Pavilion at Riverfront on a cold Tuesday night.
So cold that MGK mentioned the weather numerous times. But the show must go on, and, for 90 minutes, the performer born Colson Baker brought the heat – to combat the chilly evening – and his high-energy talent and charisma to the outdoor stage he described as “Avatar” as the crowd chanted “MGK! MGK! MGK!” throughout the night.
Donning a bright pink long-sleeve shirt and gray vest, MGK arrived onstage at 8:10 p.m. with one of the night’s numerous guitars atop a large prescription drug stage prop and launched into “Kiss Kiss.” About halfway through the concert, after “Sex Drive,” he appeared on the raised catwalk above the crowd and made his way through the audience at song’s end.
The night’s first appearance of pyrotechnics was during “Papercuts,” but what made MGK hot was his guitar not working. He threw a tantrum and the guitar and stormed off stage as a drum solo began.
For yours truly, who is tall enough to see over the fence, MGK cooled off quickly and watched the drum solo on a TV monitor at his stage right.
At 8:50 p.m., MGK said, “And now a song you’ve never heard,” before launching into one of his biggest hits, “My Ex’s Best Friend” with Blackbear, before going into the crowd again. He talked about performing at Knitting Factory Spokane – “I’ve been here in Spokane at least six times” – and walking the streets of Spokane in 2014 in a chicken suit. When in Spokane.
An avid marijuana fan, MGK smoked two small joints thrown onstage and countless others during his concert.
As the evening became colder, the stylish MGK ditched the vest for a sweater.
He told his fans “Lonely” was written for his dad and their difficult relationship. At one point, he said, “You guys are killing it tonight. I’m really enjoying playing for you.”
“Hangover Cure” was started over because he admitted to forgetting the lyrics.
At 9:38 p.m., MGK went shirtless to reveal his heavily tattooed and taut upper body. Temperature check: 43 degrees.
He asked, “Do you know my favorite candy?” before launching into “Jawbreaker.”
And one of his last quotes of the night was, “I’m mad because we have to say goodbye,” before performing the show-closer “Bloody Valentine.”
Other notes: The crowd sang along word for word to the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” during intermissions. I have realized that general admission and standing are no longer for me, at least at an MGK concert. One guy hit me while dancing, then apologized, while countless others just pushed and bulldozed their way through the crowd.
And one woman nearby squatted on the ground to urinate. “Yeah, my girlfriend is going to the bathroom,” her boyfriend informed us. “I thought you weren’t going to say anything?!” the girlfriend said. Gross. You can do better, Spokane.
Jxdn and Carolesdaughter
MGK’s two opening acts were Jxdn (pronounced “Jaden”) and Carolesdaughter (Carole’s Daughter if you follow common spelling rules). The latter was up first, and the performer with bright red hair has amassed a following, as evidenced by the reception to her 20-minute set. Her fairly chill and profanity-laden set included “My Mother Wants Me Dead,” “Trailer Trash” and “Violent.” And, yes, her mother’s name is Carole.
The talented Jxdn also was wildly received by the crowd and seems to be on the cusp of stardom. His looks are reminiscent of Justin Bieber, and he said this was his first tour. His profanity-laden 30-minute set included “Pills,” “Braindead,” “Angels and Demons,” a thanks to Juice WRLD for giving him a break, a goofy shirtless drummer and a refreshing dose of earnestness and hope. Quieter and thoughtful moments are appreciated and matter, as well.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter
Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.